Renewable Energy Will See Breakout Job Growth In 2011 With Solar Leading Charge

Solar Job News – The emerging environmental sector has the potential to beat the national job trends with the enormous growth of clean energy installations. The national jobs growth reports are so dire, it defies belief at times. With America staring down 9% unemployment and may areas of California reporting as high as 22%, solar has the potential to break out and revitalize the U.S. industrial economy.

Looking at the data it is clear that in all areas of solar and most renewable energy technologies, there will be significant growth in 2012. Most photovoltaic installation companies surveyed reported they were planning on hiring solar installers in the coming months.

A broad spectrum of U.S. labor unions, environmentalists, community groups, and businesses are calling for major nationwide investments in a new clean energy economy that addresses climate stability, energy security, and economic prosperity.

With the curtain is about to drop on 2010, and as our hobbled economy limps toward a new year, renewable energy, solar and wind, continues to be one of the few bright spots for job-seekers.

According to analyst reports, when you factor all the people looking for work, those who have accepted part-time gigs in the interim, and those who have simply stopped looking, California unemployment rate hovers somewhere around 22%, a figure not seen since the great depression. Those same analysts also tell us that not only is solar clean energy growing, but that there will continue to be significant job growth in the renewable energy fields in the coming year. But as green resources report, “with U.S. unemployment figures so large, it’s just been hard to notice.”

The Solar Foundation’s national solar job census 2010 reports that more than half of the U.S. solar companies expect to add jobs throughout all 50 states; the fastest growing jobs being solar installers and electricians. Experts expect to see a 26% increase in solar-related jobs in 2011. “You’d be hard pressed to find another industry with a 26 percent job growth rate for 2011,” said Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

Both geothermal and hydro powers are expected to show growth in 2011. According to a recent study by Navigant Consulting, the hydro power industry has the potential to create more than a million jobs. Green sources report that Navigant’s study “focused on just how many jobs could be created if hydropower was expanded under either a strong national RES (25% by 2025) or a weak RES (10% by 2025). The number of jobs that would be created is staggering. Under the strong RES scenario, it is estimated that 1,400,000 cumulative jobs across the country would be created by 2025, including 420,000 direct jobs, 280,000 indirect jobs and 700,000 induced jobs. Induced jobs account for the multiplier effect of direct and indirect jobs.”

On the geothermal side, Karl Gawell, Executive Director/ President of the Geothermal Energy Association, said, “We are now projecting that they’ll be between 500 and 700 MW of new geothermal power projects in the drilling construction phase in the coming year,” and that the final phase of geothermal development is the most “job intensive stage of development.” Reports indicate that geothermal projects will likely result in more than 3,000 jobs next year, with Nevada and California reaping most of the employment benefits.

Surprisingly, the one area not expected to experience big growth is wind. “The industry has stalled,” said Peter Kelly, VP Public Affairs with the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), who states that the wind power industry needs capital and a “jump start” in the form of strong backing from the U.S. government.

According to Steve Lockard, CEO of TPI Composites who manufactures large wind turbine blades, “the U.S. wind energy has tens of thousands of workers and wind farm sites ready to go. It’s a good investment opportunity for Congress and the states, to create manufacturing jobs across the country.”

Admittedly, it’s difficult to tally these numbers in any comprehensive way to draw a clear picture of the total growth of solar and the renewable energy job market for next year, in five years and in 15 years. Some industry estimates are projecting jobs in 2011, others look out as far as 2025. Just a rough summation of the above numbers shows that more than 2.5 million people, at least, will be either directly or indirectly employed in renewables by 2025. That would put about 8% of the 30,000,000 people looking for jobs right now back to work.

Contributing Source Renewable Energy World