Solar Industry Poised to Become Job LEEDer
LEEDing the Job Market: How Solar Impacts Green Building Opportunities
No longer just for the environmentally conscious, solar panels are rapidly becoming popular in both residential and commercial markets. A big part of that growth is due to solar becoming less expensive to produce and more efficient at reducing energy use and utility costs. Consumers across the country are buying into solar at higher rates than ever.
As a result of this newfound acclaim, jobs in the solar industry have increased by a rate of 123% in the last six years. There are currently over 208,000 jobs in the field – 31,000 of which emerged just last year. This trend shows no sign of slowing, either. In fact, the solar industry’s rapid growth has set it up to be a leader in green building job generation in the near future.
LEED-Credentialed Jobs in Green Building and Solar
Years ago, the green building industry’s primary obstacle was a lack of consumer interest – green technologies were less developed and more expensive, making them less accessible to the general public. In the last few decades, however, the tide has turned, and with the growth of affordable technology like solar panels, more consumers are ready to go green. That higher demand for green technology comes with a higher demand for workers who understand green building, in turn – particularly those with LEED credentials.
LEED-accredited workers understand how to create LEED-certified buildings that reduce stress on the environment, provide health benefits, and use resources efficiently. These buildings are also financially beneficial, decreasing utility costs and increasing property value.
The ability to provide such benefits – coupled with the fact that LEED certification is a global standard – has put workers who have these credentials in high demand. It comes as no surprise, then, that as solar becomes a larger presence in the green building industry as a whole, LEED Accredited Professionals (APs) are in equally high demand for solar-related work.
Finding Green Building Work with Solar Applications
Green building job growth is good news for those looking to obtain or utilize their LEED certification. Here are just a few solar-specific applications for LEED APs.
As the demand for residential and commercial solar panels grows, so too will the need for solar panel installation experts, especially LEED APs. Building contractors working to meet LEED qualifications will be eager to hire technicians with in-depth construction capabilities and a clear understanding of how to maximize panel efficiency and improve LEED standing.
Because solar installs deal with multiple elements – wiring, carpentry, roofing, etc. – there should be plenty of room for worker specialization as well. An electrician with LEED accreditation, for instance, would be an ideal candidate to handle complex wiring jobs for large solar installations, while a LEED AP with a background in roofing would be best able to arrange rooftop panels to maximize efficiency without unduly straining the roof’s capacity.
More and more, solar is becoming the centerpiece of new residential and commercial building design. Entire neighborhoods and communities are turning to solar for cheaper, cleaner energy production. And with this boom comes a higher demand for architects and urban planners who have an understanding of green design.
LEED APs with specialties in Neighborhood Development or Building Design and Construction will be prime candidates for these types of jobs. LEED-accredited architects can implement green building techniques to help reduce a building’s environmental impact, incorporating techniques like daylighting or passive solar design to better use natural light and heat. They’ll also be able to provide suggestions on new tools and materials that can help blend sustainability and aesthetics.
On a larger scale, urban designer LEED APs can evaluate the eco-friendliness of entire neighborhoods and communities, addressing far-reaching issues involving utilities, transportation, and public green spaces in a way that will conform to global standards.
For those industry professionals whose specialties run more toward engineering, the solar industry has plenty of opportunities. Solar engineers, for instance, oversee the planning and implementation of solar projects, and they often help provide links between scientific advances and commercial applications. When new, affordable solar building technologies come out, it’s likely that a solar engineer had a hand in that creation.
Many solar engineers will likely find that LEED accreditation helps them keep up with industry standards. The credentials are especially useful for those dealing with large-scale solar projects, which are rapidly becoming more popular as companies and retailers turn to renewable energy. Understanding how to maximize the efficiency of an enormous array is no easy feat, but the environmental impact is impressive – and something corporations are eager to invest in.
Whether a LEED AP is interested in solar work or not, solar expansion is driving more interest into green fields, spurring the need for widespread green building applications. All things considered, the solar industry stands to become a solid provider of green building jobs in the next few years. Those who haven’t yet invested in LEED credentials may want to change that soon if they hope to get a jump on the upcoming market growth.
Check out Solar Power Authority today for more in-depth information regarding solar technology.