Image via: Flickr.com
When I first saw the headline that soon solar will support more than just installer jobs, and that it's now become a large enough offshoot to warrant its own news release, I thought, 'great, the idea of starting one's own green, service business is starting to take off.' Well it's true that those jobs are picking up, but so are jobs for the chemical industry.In 2009 the investment in the chemicals and materials used in the manufacture of solar cells is expected to drop to just $2.3 billion, surprising considering the recent investment in going green. Not to worry, that number is expected to explode to over $15 billion in investment by 2015. This is matched by the growth in the overall PV market from a 5.7 GW to 36 GW over the same time period. Chemicals needed include: "crystalline silicon, amorphous silicon, tandem-junction, Cd-Te, and CI(G)S cells and modules." As the materials going into the solar panels change to meet the changing needs and demands in application, including making panels that are more flexible, more efficient and can even be painted onto buildings, the types of chemicals needed will logically change.
Speaking of growing jobs along the PV supply chain, while different shapes, sizes and styles of panels will change, so will the types of jobs created in the solar industry. I have mentioned before about the need for solar panel washers, and these companies are starting to enter the market. Other jobs along the PV supply chain include maintenance and trouble-shooting professionals. While your solar panels/inverter are under warranty (at least for the first few years) you might be willing to pay a small fee to have someone come out and get that power running immediately instead of waiting a few days or weeks for your solar company to get around to you. Also, some homeowners have found that they need a cage installed around their panels to keep birds/squirrels from nesting underneath the array - so companies may develop that make and install these anti-bird systems (complete with a fake owl to stand guard - out of direct sunlight of course).
Inverters run better the cooler they are, but sometimes the only side of your house available is in direct sunlight. So companies can develop lattice-frameworks, boxes or other contraptions to keep the sunlight off your inverter and the electricity flowing at top speed. Another option is a company to insure your array. While stealing solar panels is still mostly urban legend, it does happen and it's happening more often, so for areas prone to high theft, someone could establish a company to insure those panels.
Who says you can't get a job in solar? Just because you aren't as young as you used to be, or can't afford to travel too often, doesn't mean you can't get involved. Plus, even if you don't have the capital to open up your own installation company doesn't mean you can't take a bite out of this solar-baked pie.:Inter Press Service
More on Jobs in Solar
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Akeena Solar and Morgan Stanley Create More Green Jobs
Ex Gang-Members Installing Solar Panels?
United Nations Report Projects 8.4 Million Jobs in Solar&Wind; by 2030, Plus Green Goods Production Worth USD$2.4 Trillion by 2020