Workforce Development Analysis
US wind and solar capacity has increased dramatically in the last decade. Concurrently, the need for and difficulties in finding qualified individuals to design and install systems, manufacture components, manage project installation and operate these systems has grown. NREL workforce development analysis work focuses on understanding what workforce skills, training and experience are needed to enable continued large-scale deployment of wind and solar technologies and how best can the US build a workforce with the required capabilities.
NREL's workforce analyses studies show that:
- The greatest near-term solar and wind workforce needs include technicians and tradesmen with hands-on solar- and wind-specific experience, experienced electrical, mechanical and solar engineers, and project managers
- Standardized education and training at all levels—primary school through post-graduate, industry-based training and certification, apprenticeships—are required to develop a skilled workforce to support the future expansion of wind and solar industries
Highlights of Recent Studies
Solar PV Installation Labor Market Analysis
This study identified the national and regional workforce needs and preferences specific to solar PV installation as follows:
- Experience with customer service, construction and electrical projects
- One-half of firms reported difficulties in finding qualified entry-level candidates with appropriate training and education
- Firms (59%) reported significant difficulty finding qualified applicants with adequate skills and work experience
- Informal OJT training
- For more formal training, firms rely on courses taught through industry-specific organizations (57%) and customized and existing in-house training programs (51%) for their employees
To find out more about this study, please download: Solar Installation Labor Market Analysis.
Find out more about other published workforce development analysis studies:
- Baring-Gould, I. (2011). Wind Energy Workforce Development: A Roadmap to a Wind Energy Educational Infrastructure (Presentation). NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory). 16 pp.; NREL Report No. PR-7A20-51599.
For questions, contact Barry Friedman.