California is tops in the United States for solar jobs creation according to a Cornell University study as part of the Solar Foundation’s 2011 Solar Jobs Census. The top 10 states created 61,700 solar jobs and of those California can claim 25,575 – a whopping 41 percent.
Dr. Dena Maloney, Vice President, Canyon Country Campus and Economic Development for College of the Canyons, says we shouldn’t be surprised given California’s history.
“We’re always on the leading edge of things that relate to the environment, so this is something that shouldn’t surprise us. Even under Gov. Schwarzenegger he had his Million Solar Roofs initiative. So it crosses policy lines that there is support for these kinds of things,” said Maloney.
In August, the College of the Canyons Canyon Country Campus began offering a Solar Technician Certification program – a decision fitting in nicely with California’s dominance in solar jobs.
“We want to make sure that if there’s an industry sector that’s growing that we have programs that will prepare students for those industry sectors,” said Mahoney.
Dr. Peter Parrish, Department chair for Alternative Energy and Transportation, College of the Canyons, Canyon Country Campus, says community colleges throughout the state are focusing on green jobs.
“I think we have about 110 maybe 105 in the state of California. And I would say at least 20 percent of them are developing full courses at least for certificates if not an AS degree,” said Parrish.
Parrish sees community colleges developing areas of concentration such as wind power, utility scale power plants, or the direction COC is taking with photovoltaic and solar thermal power.
If a COC student completes three courses, Introduction to Energy, Photovoltaic, and Solar Thermal they can earn their certificate as a Solar Technician.
In the spring of 2013, COC hopes to add three additional courses: Introduction to Energy (demand side), Green Building, and Sales and Marketing: Renewable Energy.
If a student takes all of these courses along with companion courses in math and construction, they will receive an Associates of Science degree in Renewable Energy.
Based on preliminary analysis of the 2011 Solar Jobs Census, the top 10 states for solar jobs and the number of jobs created this are:
1. California 25,575
2. Colorado 6,186
3. Arizona 4,786
4. Pennsylvania 4,703
5. New York 4,279
6. Florida 4,224
7. Texas 3,346
8. Oregon 3,346
9. New Jersey 2,871
10. Massachusetts 2,395
The Value Chain Breakdown of solar jobs for California is as follows:
13% Research and Development