Try These Tips for Filling Solar Renewable Energy Jobs
Just like in nearly every industry, utility-scale solar companies are facing the challenge of finding highly qualified skilled tradespeople to fill jobs in this fast-growing industry. In fact, thanks to the continued expansion and adoption of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, employment of solar PV installers is projected to grow 51 percent through 2029 — much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), which is working to create the framework for solar to achieve 20% of U.S. electricity generation by 2030, reports there are more than 37,000 megawatts (MW) of utility-scale solar projects currently operating with another 112,000 MW under development.
The National Solar Jobs Census 2020 reports:
- The U.S. solar industry employed 231,474 workers in 2020
- Installation and construction-related employment continued to be the largest segment in the solar industry, representing 67% of all jobs
- Since 2015, solar industry employment has increased by 39% for women, 92% for Black or African American workers and 19% for veterans
- Women in solar grew from 26% to 30% of the workforce, increasing by nearly 4,800 women for a total of more than 69,000 now
- Veterans make up a larger share of the solar workforce (9%) than the overall economy
Adding to all of that, achieving President Biden’s goal to reach 100% carbon pollution-free electricity by 2035 will require more than 900,000 solar workers, according to the National Solar Jobs Census 2020. So how are utility-scale solar companies supposed to find solar installers, solar electricians and other solar energy workers to fill solar renewable energy jobs? PeopleReady Skilled Trades offers these eight tips.
8 Tips for Filling Solar Renewable Energy Jobs
- Share the benefits of solar. For decades, utility-scale solar has produced dependable and clean electricity with a steady fuel price. Skilled tradespeople need to know when they work for your company, they’re not just taking a job — they’re helping to reduce carbon emissions and to set our country on a path to a clean energy future. Share that message in your recruiting materials and on social media and you’ll attract skilled tradespeople who want to make a difference in their career.
- Get creative. To recruit skilled tradespeople from more traditional jobs in the trades, you’ll need to get creative. PeopleReady Skilled Trades offered a sweepstakes for anyone who worked for us in the month of July 2021. For each shift they worked, they were entered into a drawing for daily cash prizes and a grand prize of a new car. Not only did the sweepstakes motivate skilled tradespeople to work with us, but it was also a great way for us to show our skilled tradespeople that we respect their craft. Spend some time thinking of creative, innovative and fun ways to attract solar electricians, solar installers and other solar energy workers, and then put those ideas into motion. You never know who you might attract.
- Go within. Your current employees can be your best recruiters to fill solar renewable energy jobs. Why not reward them for bringing potential tradespeople to your company? Consider creating a referral program that gives bonuses to employees who refer tradespeople who are then successfully hired and work for, say, one, two or even three months. Referral programs can boost your workforce—and employee morale.
- Reach out. Check in with local technical institutions and other vocational and trade schools and let them know you’re hiring. Participate in any upcoming job fairs and ask for other opportunities to talk with students and soon-to-be graduates about jobs for solar installers, solar electricians and other solar energy workers. Likely they’ll want to know, “How much do solar installers make?” The answer: Wages for solar energy workers can be comparable and even higher than similar occupations in other industries, according to the National Solar Jobs Census 2020 report. The median annual wage for solar photovoltaic installers was $46,470 in May 2020, according to the BLS.
- Pay fairly. Speaking of pay, make sure you are paying fair market wages—and then get the word out that you do! Companies that fairly compensate their workers stand a far greater chance of finding, hiring and retaining workers than those that don’t.
- Host your own job fair. Beyond participating in job fairs at local trade schools, community colleges and the like, you can host your own job fair. Create an event on Facebook and then spread the word on all of your social media platforms. Post flyers at local coffee shops and other businesses in your community.
- Expand your search. To fill jobs for solar installers, solar electricians and solar energy workers in general, you’ll need to share the benefits of working for your company and in the solar industry with people of all ages and genders. In this article on how to recruit skilled trades workers, PeopleReady Skilled Trades suggests focusing on four groups, including women and veterans. Seek out opportunities to talk with these groups, such as local women’s groups and organizations and veterans groups. Come prepared to answer questions like “How much do solar installers make?” and to talk about the benefits of jobs for solar installers, solar electricians and other solar energy workers. And don’t forget the job applications!
- Hire a solar staffing agency. One solution for utility-scale solar companies who need workers is to partner with a solar staffing company. By partnering with renewable energy staffing professionals like PeopleReady Skilled Trades, you’ll spend less time and energy trying to find workers to fill solar renewable energy jobs, and more time planning, or winning, the next project. Before you decide on the best solar staffing company for you, take your time and make sure you do your research. For example, does the solar staffing agency you’re considering provide a traveling workforce if workers are not available in your market? In this article, we cover this and other key questions to ask renewable staffing companies before you make your decision.
Need help now finding solar energy workers? Filling jobs for solar installers, solar electricians and other solar energy workers takes time and energy. If your company needs skilled tradespeople now, turn to PeopleReady Skilled Trades, a solar staffing expert since 2011. We’ll help put a solar workforce within reach by connecting you with quality solar installers, solar electricians and other solar energy workers—when and where you need them.
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