Noah Crispi works in the utility scale solar arena, collaborating on projects over 100MW. In the following article, Noah Crispi explains how the industry is creating jobs helping to restore the economy.
The global energy transition suggests job vacancies in the sector could climb to 134 million by the middle of the century, provided a zero carbon world is achieved. And while the industry spans are variety of clean energy sources, utility-scale solar is one of the many most promising niches, rapidly bringing work opportunities to the nation and beyond.
In fact, utility-scale solar is one of the quickest-growing renewable energy sectors in the United States of America. And 2023 has only continued this trend, thanks to falling costs, increasing clean energy demand, and favorable policies.
Noah Crispi Provides an Explanation of Utility-Scale Solar
Utility-scale solar, as the name alludes, is different from the residential side — it’s larger and far more complex. Not to mention more lucrative for those who choose to work in within the niche.
Formally, utility-scale solar is a term referring to projects (i.e., solar farms, etc.) that generate at least one Megawatt of energy. However, this isn’t a definition agreed upon by everybody; some experts say only plants producing a minimum of four Megawatts are utility-scale. Nevertheless, these solar farms are much larger than their residential cousins.
Noah Crispi says that the created power is siphoned to the local utility grid, producing electricity far cheaper than the power generated by rooftop solar, due to the economies of technology and scale. And the complex, long-term nature of utility-scale solar lets employees reap the higher-salary rewards.
Utility-Scale Solar: Carving Increasing Employment Spaces in the Clean Energy Sector
Noah Crispi explains that as per the Solar Futures Study, to achieve a completely decarbonized electricity system in the US by 2035, the solar workforce needs to expand from 2021’s 250,000 workers to between 500,000 and 1,500,000 workers by 2035 — a feat the utility-scale solar sector hopes to help the country achieve.
With the US Energy Information Administration’s report stating the nation’s solar market is set to add a whopping 29.1 GW of brand-new utility-scale photovoltaic panels and 9.4 GW of storage this year, the job opportunities are only increasing. And as the uptake of solar energy production accelerates around the country, vacancies within the clean energy sector will just keep rising.
Noah Crispi says that research and development into the solar workforce are conducted by the US Department of Energy (DOE) Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO), with findings showing increased production capacity requires a skilled, diverse clean energy workforce. Thus, SETO is funding development initiatives so individuals from all walks of life can affirm careers within this renewable niche.
SETO’s work supports a utility-scale solar workforce that benefits from high levels of continuous training, affordable entry pathways, career stability, and economic health.
Growing the Economy at Fascinating Rates
The economy’s well-being rests on many factors. However, the incredible boost in job roles that utility-scale solar has afforded the country is a huge plus point.
Noah Crispi notes that the rapid rate at which the niche is growing isn’t happening by chance. There are a few elements that have made the number of career opportunities skyrocket.
Declining Technology Costs
Over the past few years, the cost of solar technology has dropped considerably, making utility-scale solar a formidable competitor against traditional fossil-fuel-based sources.
Noah Crispi says that 2023 has seen more of the same, and it’s expected to continue. The technology is advancing at great rates and manufacturing is becoming more and more efficient, which is working wonders to further plummet the costs.
State and federal governments have published favorable policies that are fore-fronting the ever-growing charge of utility-scale solar.
Noah Crispi says that perhaps the most beneficial policy is the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which offers a 26% tax credit for solar installations. The benefit piques large-scale energy consumers’ interest, making solar plants more affordable for such companies.
In addition, multiple states have enacted Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS), requiring a specific percentage of energy to come from clean sources. Such policies encourage source transitions in businesses and residential power users alike.
Ever-Increasing Clean Energy Demand
Noah Crispi observes that consumers are more aware of the negative impacts of energy consumption, urging utility-scale solar farms to keep expanding. Customers and companies want to reduce their carbon footprint, and the demand is stronger than ever.
As time keeps ticking, utility-scale solar will undoubtedly keep growing and unleashing new swathes of job opportunities as it goes.