Employment of solar photovoltaic (PV) installers, often called PV installers, is projected to grow 24 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. However, because it is a small occupation, the fast growth will result in only about 1,400 new jobs over the 10-year period.
The expansion and adoption of solar panel installation is expected to create new jobs. As the cost of PV panels and shingles continues to fall, more residential households are expected to take advantage of these systems, resulting in greater demand for the workers who install them. The increasing popularity of solar leasing plans—in which homeowners lease rather than purchase systems—should create additional demand, as they no longer bear the upfront costs of installation.
The long-term outlook, however, is heavily dependent on government incentives, cost, and the continued improvement of PV panels. States and localities that provide incentives to reduce the cost of PV systems should experience greater demand for workers. Common incentives include tax rebates, direct subsidies, renewable energy purchase mandates, and net metering.
PV installers who complete a course in photovoltaic systems at a community college or technical school will have the best job opportunities. Those with apprenticeship or journey electrician experience will also have very good job opportunities. Workers with experience in construction occupations, such as laborers, roofers, and carpenters, will have better job opportunities than those without construction experience.
Employment of PV installers fluctuates with the overall economy. On the one hand, there is great demand for PV installers during peak periods of building activity. On the other hand, workers may experience periods of unemployment when the overall level of construction falls.
Solar Photovoltaic Installers
Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24
Solar photovoltaic installers
Construction trades workers
Total, all occupations
Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program