Solar careers are becoming exceedingly popular, with the United States solar industry currently employing over 255,000 workers as of 2021. The market has continued to experience consistent growth of at least 10% every year. With a rising demand for solar across the nation, solar companies are eager to bring on qualified professionals. In the Midwest specifically, there has been a coordinated push to generate interest and experience in the solar industry among college graduates.
The US Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technology Offices (SETO) has invested $800,000 into the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA) to encourage college students to explore careers in the solar industry. Founded in 1990, the MREA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the widespread use of renewable energy in the Midwest. Over the years, MREA has established several programs explicitly developed to encourage the adoption of solar energy in Wisconsin. One program, in particular, is Solar Ready Wisconsin. This program assists technical colleges throughout Wisconsin in implementing training curricula geared toward teaching students the basics of solar energy. The programs allow students to gain hands-on experience and help graduates of the program with job placement.
Solar Ready Wisconsin
Solar Ready Wisconsin is one of the top programs in the Midwest. It has allowed students to obtain necessary certifications, gain real-world experience, and learn the basics of photovoltaic technology. At partnering institutions, members of the program spend an allotted amount of hours on actual solar installation sites. In doing so, students get first-hand experience with the basics of solar work. The MREA designed courses to provide valuable knowledge to those entering the solar industry for the first time. Students also obtain North American Board of Certified Professional certifications. Those who have completed the program find steady employment within the solar industry. Altogether, Solar Ready Wisconsin has provided much-needed staffing to an ever-growing industry.
Aside from partnering with local colleges, MREA also founded a job posting board that connects young professionals with solar companies. The website provides a comprehensive glossary of available positions at midwestern solar companies. Additionally, the site also functions as a place to coordinate and share information regarding training opportunities, career fairs, and more. In partnership with Solar Ready Wisconsin, MREA has also added a solar energy booth to its annual career fair. This is yet another opportunity for those looking for jobs in the solar industry to connect with potential employers.
The future of solar Careers
With the funding provided by SETO, Solar Ready Wisconsin has the resources to expand the program to technical colleges outside of Wisconsin. The ultimate goal is to have the Solar Ready program available at specialized colleges throughout the midwest. As of this year, it has expanded to include 16 collegiate partners in 4 states, with more to follow. The success of Solar Ready Wisconsin reflects the high demand for solar energy and the continued rise of its popularity. Everlight Solar is thrilled to be a part of this movement toward renewable energy! If you’re looking for a job in the solar industry and want to join a dedicated and driven team, check out our careers page today!