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Wade Millward: New opportunity for some service workers — solar installation

Wade Tyler Millward, on

Published in Home and Consumer News

If you're waiting for your job in services -- retail or otherwise -- to restart or to ramp back up to full hours, you might consider switching to solar installation, a fast-growing job market.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts solar installer jobs will grow by 63% between 2018 and 2028, for an addition of 6,100 jobs. Annual median pay in 2019 was $45,000, or $21.58 an hour, and could make the required training worth your time.

The job

Installers assemble, set up and maintain systems that convert sunlight into energy. They measure, cut and assemble the support structure for solar panels, meet building codes and standards, connect panels to electrical systems, and test the systems to make sure they work.

Most work is outdoors, but installers sometimes enter attics and crawl spaces to connect panels to the electric grid. (They also risk falls from ladders and roofs -- mitigated by fall protection equipment -- as well as electrical shocks and burns.)

Top employers of solar installers include SolarCity, SunRun and Tesla Motors, according to PayScale, a compensation comparison website.


The BLS reports that the top paying metropolitan areas for solar installers are Santa Cruz, Calif., $34.76 an hour; San Francisco, $28.20 an hour; and Honolulu, $28.19. The top paying states are Oregon, $27.97 an hour; Hawaii, $27.37 an hour; and Texas, $25.82 an hour.

In February, the Solar Foundation reported the highest growth in solar jobs came from almost 2,000 positions added in Florida, about 1,000 each added in Georgia, Utah and New York. Florida and Utah are toward the lower end when it comes to pay, however, according to BLS.

The lowest 10% earned less than $32,000, according to BLS. The highest 10% earned more than $64,000.

Demand should return


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