According to the Worldwatch Institute:
Driven by the gathering sense of a climate crisis, the notion of “green jobs”-especially in the renewable energy sector-is now receiving unprecedented attention. Currently about 2.3 million people worldwide work either directly in renewables or indirectly in supplier industries. Given incomplete data, this is in all likelihood a conservative figure. The wind power industry employs some 300,000 people, the solar photovoltaics (PV) sector accounts for an estimated 170,000 jobs, and the solar thermal industry, at least 624,000. More than 1 million jobs are found in the biomass and biofuels sector. Small-scale hydropower and geothermal energy are far smaller employers.
Read more of that article here.
And more good news from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics
The solar power industry has experienced rapid growth in the past decade. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), total U.S. solar electric capacity surpassed 2,000 megawatts in 2009, enough to power over 350,000 homes. In 2009 alone, the residential market doubled in size and three new concentrating solar power (CSP) plants opened in the United States, increasing the solar electric market by 37 percent. Despite this growth, solar power is still a minute portion of total energy generated in the country. In 2009, solar power provided less than 1 percent of total electricity generated in the United States.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not currently have employment data for the solar power industry. However, the Solar Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes the use of solar energy technologies to help meet the world’s energy needs, estimates that in August 2010, 93,000 workers spent more than half of their work hours on projects related to solar power. The solar industry includes workers in science, engineering, manufacturing, construction, and installation. Scientists, for example, are involved in the research and development of new and more efficient materials, and engineers design new systems and improve existing technologies. Manufacturing workers make the equipment used in solar power generation, such as mirrors and panels. Construction workers build solar power plants. Electricians, plumbers, and solar photovoltaic installers install residential and commercial solar projects. The Solar Foundation estimates that the largest growth in the solar industry in 2011 will be in occupations in solar installation, including photovoltaic installers and electricians and roofers with experience in solar installation.
To pursue a renewable energy career, you’ll need training. A quickly increasing number of colleges and universities offer degrees and certificates in several green energy areas. Even community colleges and online training can offer you the ability to work in the renewable energy field in two years or less. And, lots of other organizations offer courses as well as workshops on energy performance as well as eco-friendly energy themes– in some situations free of cost. Check out the links below from the US Department of Energy for specifics:
- Colleges and universities with degree programs or specializations in clean energy fields
- Community colleges and training centers that offer two-year degrees or certificates for jobs in the expanding field of energy efficiency and renewable energy
- Other training and courses, such as individual seminars on clean energy topics; see also our Related Links page for training information for specific technologies like solar or energy efficiency in buildings
With the exponential growth in the green energy field, education providers all across the country and the world are responding to the increased need for technical, administrative, and managerial skills that are in high demand now and will likely increase in the near future. More and more colleges, universities, and certificate programs throughout the nation are including courses and offering degrees in Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency.
Many experts forecast that by 2020 the universal clean energy overall economy will top one trillion dollars.