The economic recession of 2008 was bad. Countless industries laid off hundreds of thousands of workers – within finance, education, and manufacturing.But one sector of the economy continued to flourish amidst this nationwide downsizing. The solar energy industry enjoyed double-digit growth, adding tens of thousands of new green jobs.At the center of all this activity stands California – and our very own San Diego.According to the Solar Foundation, California could employ more than 50,000 solar professionals in 2014 alone. This is a staggering number given how small the industry was just 10 years ago.Over the past decade, solar energy companies in San Diego have been springing up right and left, trying to keep pace with unprecedented demand for sustainable, affordable, and limitless energy from the sun.Not only has this rapid expansion helped to halt environmental destruction. But it has also helped spur economic growth so that the US can get back on its feet and climb out of the recession.
Job Breakdown – Solar Energy Companies in San DiegoSo where exactly are all these new solar jobs coming from?Well, of the 50,000 or so positions spread across the state, roughly 10,000 come from the San Diego and Los Angeles corridor.The actual breakdown of jobs and skills is heavily weighted towards solar photovoltaic (PV) installation (roughly 55% of all positions). Manufacturing accounts for approximately 22% of solar jobs. Sales and distribution come in at 12%. Solar PV project development stands at 5%. The remaining percentages are spread across financing, marketing, and related services.
What the Future Holds for San Diego, California, and AmericaAs far as solar energy is concerned, the future looks pretty bright (pun intended).It’s not all sunshine. Policies change. Incentives expire. And project developers must constantly recalculate payback periods within this shifting landscape.Even in San Diego, we could face any number of regulatory changes. Utility companies are constantly trying to rewrite existing laws to make renewable energy less attractive for ordinary homeowners. And solar energy companies throughout the County are constantly fighting back (with the help of local businesses, residents, and green politicians).But even with these challenges, solar’s future looks pretty certain:
- The sun will always be free
- Utility rates will always go up
- Solar payback periods will always be short
- Green jobs will always be in demand