As the United States begins to focus more on clean energy, more renewable energy jobs are opening up across the country for people in a variety of fields, from consulting to engineering to agriculture.
If you’re interested in transitioning to a career in the renewable energy space, you may be wondering how to begin or what jobs are available.
Gexa’s guide to renewable energy jobs explores the growth of the clean energy sector, what types of jobs are out there, what experience you may need, and even where you can start to look for positions in renewable energy.
How Does Renewable Energy Create Jobs?
Clean energy job growth is driven by a variety of factors, including changing government regulations and renewable goals, advancing technologies, and general popular demand for more environmentally friendly energy options because of the many renewable energy benefits.
Many renewable energy jobs are available in various fields, from local jobs like installing solar panels and performing home energy audits to civil engineering renewable energy jobs. The clean energy sector also offers positions in architecture, design, and manufacturing.
Today, the renewable energy industry employs over 750,000 people, and the most rapid growth in jobs is in the solar power and wind energy sectors. Jobs in solar and wind outnumber coal and gas jobs in 30 states.
Top Renewable Energy Jobs
Whether you’re planning a career shift or want to expand your expertise into the clean energy sector, jobs in renewable energy have a lot to offer.
Renewable energy has multiple job opportunities for engineers, especially in mechanical, electrical, and environmental engineering, particularly research and development. From planning and implementing new technologies to designing new wind turbines, solar cells, and hydroelectric facilities, plenty of renewable energy engineering jobs are available for those with relevant experience.
With more people opting to install rooftop solar panels to reduce their electricity bills and generate clean energy, the need for solar installers continues to grow. Other solar technologies also need professional installers, such as water and pool heaters.
If you’re interested in switching to a career in solar installation, a background in construction, mechanics, or as an electrician is most helpful. You can get officially certified in solar installation, but you don’t need a college degree, making these positions great entry-level renewable energy jobs.
Wind Turbine Manufacturing & Operation
There are many jobs available in wind power, from developing new wind energy technologies and equipment to manufacturing, installing, and maintaining turbines. While pay rates vary depending on expertise and specialty, many positions pay similarly to skilled construction jobs.
For wind renewable energy jobs, you most likely will need a background in engineering, construction, mechanical and electrical work, or heavy machinery.
Contractors & Electricians
One of the easiest ways to shift into jobs in renewable energy is to become a contractor. Contractors and electricians can install solar panels and make energy efficiency upgrades to the home, such as improving insulation or installing new windows to reduce heating and cooling costs. Contractors and electricians can also make improvements to homes and businesses to meet clean energy goals.
Sustainable farming and agricultural practices are a key part of the renewable energy space. Biofuels are produced from products such as corn and soybeans and even sometimes manure and other agricultural byproducts. Organic farming practices based on soil and animal science are only growing in demand, making the field a viable option for renewable energy jobs.
Clean energy has had a big impact on the automotive industry with the increase in the availability of electric and hybrid cars. Electric vehicles (EVs) are built entirely differently from traditional gas-powered vehicles, which means mechanics need to have specific knowledge of how to repair EVs. While this position requires some new training, the demand for mechanics who can work on electric vehicles will only increase as more EVs are on the road and more EV factories open, such as the Tesla factory in Texas.
Many companies have clean energy goals they’re trying to reach, and environmental consultants help businesses find ways to be more eco-friendly and reduce their carbon footprints. While consulting work is often on a contract business, it can still be a viable career option for those looking to move into the renewable energy field. There are even renewable energy attorney jobs for lawyers looking to help businesses shift to clean energy.
Where to Find Renewable Energy Jobs
As the federal government shifts to more renewable energy sources to power homes and businesses, they continue to post jobs in the field as they become available. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy has dozens of jobs available in various locations and a database where users can easily search for federal clean energy jobs.
Renewable Energy Jobs also keeps an ongoing list of job postings across the country in the clean energy field and allows users to search by job type and location.
General job websites like Indeed also feature renewable energy job listings, though may require a bit more searching than clean energy-specific sites.
Renewable Energy Jobs in Texas
According to the U.S. Department of Energy 2022 U.S. Energy & Employment Report (USEER), the clean energy space has continued to grow and produce more jobs, even with the economic challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of jobs in electric vehicles, solar, wind, and other renewable energy sources has grown exponentially, with Texas as one of the top three states leading the way.
In 2021, renewable energy in Texas grew significantly, gaining over 30,000 clean energy jobs in fields like low and zero-carbon vehicles, energy efficiency, and solar. Those numbers will only continue to grow as Texas and companies like Gexa Energy help lead the way in building a cleaner, more reliable future for the state and the country.