Top Solar Energy Jobs In 2024: Careers In Renewable Energy

by | Jul 11, 2024 | Renewable Energy, Solar Energy

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Solar energy is the future of renewable energy. As the industry’s fastest expanding sector, which is gradually being adopted by governments worldwide, it is also one of the most promising for job creation. According to research, solar energy alone might generate 40% of the electricity in the United States by 2035, demonstrating the rapid expansion and investment in this critical renewable energy source. According to the most recent IRENA data, between 2020 and 2022, investment in renewable energy increased by almost 43%, from $348 billion to $499 billion. Most of this went to the solar business, expanding the opportunity for advancement and the number of jobs in the area. This has increased the popularity and competitiveness of solar energy jobs for people already in the energy industry or searching for a career shift. Below, we look at some of the top solar energy jobs in 2024, what they require, and what you can anticipate regarding compensation and qualification.

Which Solar Energy Jobs in 2024 Pay the Highest?

As solar power is still a relatively new industry, now is an excellent time to look for a career. There is tremendous opportunity for professionals with various skill sets, whether they are engineers, project managers, or work in manufacturing or system design.

As solar power generation grows increasingly essential, the average wage for solar energy employment rises dramatically. This indicates that, on average, we are witnessing the following jobs in the United States:

  • Solar Manufacturing: This area of solar energy production focuses on generating solar project components through research and development, product innovation, and optimization. The median pay in solar manufacturing is $70,500.
  • Solar System Design: Solar system design is based on selecting the proper components and implementing them efficiently and cost-effectively. Professionals in this field will seek to meet safety and performance standards while developing new and innovative ways to connect components. The typical annual income for solar system design is $76,000.
  • Solar Project Management: Solar project management refers to implementing a system design, whether on a small home scale or a vast national utility project. This may include selling the system, ensuring proper installation, and supervising operators, engineers, and technicians. The typical annual pay for solar project development is $74,000.
  • Solar Operation and Installation: This includes the installation, optimization, and maintenance of solar power systems in the field. This may include solar panel installers and solar engineers. While this is the lowest average wage of the four, it is a highly specialized industry, so people with this skill set are in high demand. The typical income for solar installation and operations is $52,000.

Also Read: Solar Panel Power Calculator 2024

What are the Best Solar Energy Jobs in 2024?

If you’re seeking a specific function in the solar business, you should learn more about the highest-paying solar energy jobs in 2024 and what they may offer.

1. Solar Consultant

Salary: $96,000

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science, Renewable Energy, Business, or related field.
  • 3-5 years of experience in the solar industry or energy consulting.
  • Strong understanding of solar energy systems, market trends, and financial analysis.
  • Excellent communication and presentation skills.
  • Ability to analyze energy needs and provide cost-effective solutions.

Solar consultants are the highest-paid employees in the solar sector. Due to the nature of the profession, solar consultants must have an extensive understanding of renewable energy, the ability to collaborate with technical experts, and project management abilities to ensure the entire process runs successfully. For this type of work, the professional typically needs a specific certification (such as engineering) and extensive industrial experience.

2. Solar Power Plant Operator

Salary: $83,000

Qualifications:

  • Associate or Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering, Renewable Energy, or related field.
  • 2-4 years of experience in power plant operations or maintenance.
  • Knowledge of solar power plant equipment and operational protocols.
  • Strong technical and troubleshooting skills.
  • Ability to work with SCADA systems and other monitoring technologies.

Operators at a solar power plant are critical to maintaining output, and specialists in the role may spend time running, monitoring, or repairing the facility and its equipment. Operators frequently work as part of a much bigger team, all with the same goal of ensuring efficient power generation.

3. Solar Energy Specialist

Salary: $78,000

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Renewable Energy, Environmental Science, or related field.
  • 2-3 years of experience in solar energy projects or sustainability initiatives.
  • In-depth knowledge of solar energy systems and technology.
  • Strong project management and analytical skills.
  • Proficiency in energy modeling software and tools.

Solar energy specialists, also known as PV specialists, educate people about renewable energy and solar power in general. The specialist may communicate directly with customers or clients regarding solar products, solar energy subsidies, or seminars. The profession is simply advocating for solar energy and encouraging early adoption.

4. Solar Energy Software Developer

Salary: $72,500

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Software Engineering, or related field.
  • 1-3 years of experience in software development, preferably in the energy sector.
  • Proficiency in programming languages such as Python, Java, or C++.
  • Experience with energy management software and data analysis.
  • Strong problem-solving and analytical skills.

Unlike traditional energy sources, solar energy relies on software for maintenance and future development. In general, all the machinery and equipment used in solar power generation requires software. So, if you’d rather be inside coding than outdoors dealing with gear, you can still significantly impact the world of solar energy through software development.

5. Solar Energy Technician

Salary: $72,000

Qualifications:

  • Associate degree or technical diploma in Renewable Energy, Electrical Technology, or related field.
  • Certification from a recognized solar training program (e.g., NABCEP).
  • 1-3 years of experience in solar energy system installation or maintenance.
  • Strong understanding of electrical systems and safety protocols.
  • Ability to perform physical tasks and work at heights.

Technicians are primarily responsible for installing, repairing, and maintaining solar energy equipment, such as solar farm panels or solar energy plant gear. The good news about this type of work is that demand far outweighs supply, so if you’re a technician in another area, this can be a simple career change that pays you more. In terms of ‘entry-level’ solar jobs, this is perfect if you are a technician in a related profession.

6. Solar Energy System Designer

Salary: $67,000

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Engineering, Architecture, Renewable Energy, or related field.
  • 2-4 years of experience in designing solar energy systems.
  • Proficiency in design software such as AutoCAD, PVsyst, or Helioscope.
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills.
  • Knowledge of building codes and standards related to solar installations.

The energy system designer’s responsibility is to plan and implement systems that support a renewable energy project. In addition to manufacturing the systems, the designer collaborates with technicians and engineers to ensure proper implementation. Similarly, system designers must be capable of assessing current systems and identifying opportunities for improvement or optimization.

7. Solar PV Installer

Salary: $47,000

Qualifications:

  • High school diploma or GED; Associate degree or technical certification preferred.
  • Certification from a recognized solar training program (e.g., NABCEP).
  • 1-2 years of experience in solar PV installation.
  • Knowledge of electrical systems and basic construction techniques.
  • Ability to perform physically demanding tasks and work safely at heights.

If you enjoy working in the field with your hands, consider exploring becoming a Solar Photovoltaic Installer. This function is critical to the successful execution of solar energy generation, including the installation of panels and other necessary equipment. It demands a distinct combination of abilities and is frequently suitable for contractors or self-employed experts, who can offer a better work-life balance overall.

States with the Most Solar Energy Jobs in 2024

Solar energy jobs in 2024 are accessible on both coasts, inland, and throughout the country, albeit not uniformly. For example, even if you are performing some speed reading, it is difficult not to notice the significant difference between the best and second-ranked states for solar jobs, as shown below.

According to the Department of Energy’s 2023 United States Energy & Employment Report (USEER 2023), the ten states with the highest number of solar energy jobs in 2024 are as follows:

  • California – 115,251
  • Massachusetts – 16,379
  • Texas – 14,830
  • New York – 14,292
  • Florida – 13,430
  • Arizona – 9,627
  • North Carolina – 9,091
  • Nevada – 8,848.
  • New Jersey – 8,781
  • Colorado – 8,473

With abundant sunshine, pioneering legislation, and a population more important than the entire country of Canada, California has played an essential role in US solar growth from the beginning. For over a decade, California has led the nation in solar employment by a wide margin, assisting more people to go solar than any other state. Following NEM 3.0 in California, the state’s solar business contracted in 2023, with an anticipated 17,000 job losses. Beyond the juggernaut that is California, Massachusetts is one of the most established solar markets in the country, with significant state incentives and high electricity rates encouraging many homeowners to save money with solar in MA. Texas, New York, and Florida list significantly populous states that have increased solar efforts in the previous decade. Arizona, North Carolina, Nevada, New Jersey, and Colorado are great hubs for solar energy employment.

In conclusion, to fulfil the increased demand of homes and businesses wishing to save money with solar energy, Solar energy jobs in 2024 have emerged in various industries, including manufacturing, operations and maintenance (O&M), sales, distribution, installation, and development.

Also Read: Economic Benefits Of Installing Solar Panel In Home

 

Author

  • Michael Thompson

    Michael Thompson is an esteemed expert in the renewable energy sector, with a profound experience spanning over 25 years. His expertise encompasses various sustainable energy solutions, including solar, wind, hydroelectric, and energy efficiency practices. Michael discusses the latest trends in renewable energy and provides practical advice on energy conservation.

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