Western Electrical Contractors Association, Inc.

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The future of the solar energy industry is bright--employees skilled in solar installation in demand

Thursday, January 14, 2021

The solar industry is expanding rapidly--especially in the sunny states we now serve, California and Arizona! As a WECA Member Contractor in these states, it may be worth encouraging your employees to expand their skill sets into solar for the benefit of your company.

If you have apprentices with us, you and they benefit from WECA's recent addition of a foundational level Photovoltaic (PV) System competency to our Commercial Electrical apprenticeship curriculum. Our apprentices learn how PV systems operate, installation practices, and the application of relevant code articles. They also reinforce their newfound PV knowledge by analyzing a stand-alone solar array and battery backup system onsite at our facilities.

Here's some recent solar industry research data from WECA Educational Partner Solar Energy International (SEI).

According to SEI, "In the last decade alone, solar has experienced an average annual growth rate of 49 percent." Such growth is due to many factors like strong federal policies supporting solar, the increasing affordability of solar, and more demand for clean electricity from private and public sectors alike.
This translates to increased demand for contractors specializing in solar energy. SEI notes that as of "Fall 2019, nearly 250,000 Americans work in solar - more than double the number in 2012 - at more than 10,000 companies in every U.S. state."
Although one tends to think of sunny locales when thinking of the word "solar", the solar energy industry is fair game for all 50 states. In fact, states outside of traditionally sunny climes like California made up "made up their largest share of the market in the last decade, led by rapid growth in Florida and Texas," according to SEI's data.
And this explosive growth is poised to keep going, despite economic challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic. SEI's article asserts that "most utility-scale work has continued and a record pipeline in that segment will carry the industry to a record year for deployment in 2020," and that "Impending step downs to the Investment Tax Credit help to pull demand into the 2021 – 2023 time frame, setting the stage for a series of record years."
The future's bright for solar--so join us in harnessing the power of the sun and expanding your company's solar expertise by encouraging your journeyperson or advanced Trainee employees to enroll in WECA's solar courses in partnership with educational partner SEI. Our SEI-partnered courses qualify for not only California ET/CE hours, but also NABCEP hours! Click here to access all of WECA's solar course offerings!

Want to see more of SEI's comprehensive solar industry research data? Click here!