Workforce Development Analysis
NREL's workforce development analysis—part of our broader effort supporting manufacturing analysis—is geared toward specific workforce skills, training, and experience that will enable continued large-scale deployment of wind and solar technologies.
How can the United States best build a workforce with these 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, as well as industry-based training and certification and apprenticeships—are required to develop a skilled workforce to support the future expansion of wind and solar industries.
In Solar Installation Labor Market Analysis, NREL identified potential national and regional workforce needs and preferences specific to solar photovoltaic installation, with emphasis on experience with customer service, construction, and electrical projects
- One-half of surveyed firms reported difficulties in finding qualified entry-level candidates with appropriate training and education.
- 59% of firms reported significant difficulty finding qualified applicants with adequate skills and work experience.
In 2011, NREL published a similar assessment of wind industry workforce needs, Wind Energy Workforce Development: A Roadmap to a Wind Energy Educational Infrastructure.