Renewable energy has a number of benefits, the first one being its environmental impact. Not only is renewable (clean/”green”) energy sustainable in terms of resources, it proves to be a financially sound investment as well. According to a 2017 report by the Environmental Defense Fund, careers in renewable energy have grown at a rate 12 times faster than the rest of the U.S. economy in the past ten years. Advancements in technology have led to significant reductions in manufacturing and installation costs, making renewable energy more affordable for both consumers and businesses. Combined with government building efficiency incentives, more building developers are investing in green energy than ever. This combination of factors makes for perfect career opportunities in the renewable energy sector. Today, we’re taking a look at some of the top careers in renewable energy, based on the return on educational investment and career outlook.
Renewable Energy Sales Representative
As a renewable energy sales representative, you would be working with an energy company to serve a defined service area. Typical responsibilities as a renewable energy sales representative include identifying prospects, assessing customer needs, preparing proposals, and handling orders. Additionally, the sales representative would work closely with the management team to report on status and strategize marketing plans. A bachelor’s degree would be beneficial for this career, but even more valuable would be hands-on experience and education in the energy sector. Sales representative positions require a great deal of customer interaction and communication skills.
Solar Project Manager
A Solar Project Manager is responsible for ensuring smooth, successful solar installations. This role serves as a liaison to clients, engineers, vendors, and subcontractors and coordinates workers and supplies. You would also be in charge of ensuring safety at the worksite and track quality. The most important responsibility as a Solar Project Manager, however, is to complete the work on time and within budget. A bachelor’s degree is highly recommended if not required for this type of career. The position requires managerial skills such as supervision of workers, budgeting, and communicating project status, thus a formal training in business is needed. Practical knowledge of solar technologies is always helpful and can give you an additional advantage as a job candidate.
Renewable Energy Consultant
The field of renewable energy consultants is a relatively new one, but it has great potential. Renewable energy consultants work with their clients to investigate, understand, and oversee the installation of renewable energy systems with the goal of increasing efficiency while mitigating environmental impact. Possible career trajectories in this field include becoming an entrepreneur or working for government agencies and renewable energy companies.