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Solar Offers Hot Job Prospects in California

Sullivan Solar Power

California is in the vanguard when it comes to solar power, and as a result the state is the number-one provider of solar jobs, according to a new study. And for anyone wanting to get into this promising industry, a Riverside County college has announced a new solar energy training program.

The Solar Foundation report states that California had an estimated 43,700 jobs in the solar energy industry in 2012, with installation and manufacturing the top two subsectors of employment. Arizona was in second place, with an estimated 9,800 jobs.

The foundation used several resources to compile its findings, including its own National Solar Jobs Census 2012 and the Solar Energy Industries Association's National Solar Database. To figure out the job estimates by state for installation and non-installation jobs (the latter including manufacturing, sales, distribution, and development), the foundation examined thousands of data sources.

"Solar power continues to prove itself as an economic driver and a vital source of jobs in California," said Evan Gillespie, director of the Sierra Club's My Generation Campaign, which promotes the use of clean, renewable energy in California. "While providing only a fraction of the state's energy, more people now work in the solar industry than at the state's two largest utilities. These jobs didn't magically appear; they're the result of smart energy policies that require further support and expansion if we're going to continue to create jobs in 21st century industries like solar."

To assist in the creation of more solar jobs, the College of the Desert in Palm Desert has introduced new solar energy training courses. Solar Photovoltaic Principles and Applications, offered in English and Spanish, provides a 60-hour overview of the solar industry, with the opportunity to participate in a 16-hour installation of a residential solar power system. Students will be prepared for and take the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) entry-level exam. Photovoltaic Technical Sales Training is a 32-hour course designed to help solar industry professionals enhance their knowledge and prep them for NABCEP Technical Sales Certification.

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