Infographic: The Solar Energy Solution
Growth in Solar Industry Good for College Students, Recent Grads & the Environment

Climate change is one of the most pressing issues for current and future generations. Fortunately, science has provided some solutions to help fight global warming, including harnessing energy from the sun. Recent growth in the solar industry is not only increasing the use of this environmentally sustainable source of energy but also providing opportunities for today’s youth to play a role in securing a cleaner future for the planet. The infographic below, “The Solar Demand,” developed by the Refrigeration School, can help you understand how much the solar industry has grown in recent years.

The Fossil Fuel-Derived Electricity Problem

• Greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere, which contributes to global warming.
• The main greenhouse gas emitted through human activity is carbon dioxide.
• Burning fossil fuels, such as coal, natural gas, and oil, to generate electricity is the largest source of CO2 emissions in the United States.
• Fossil fuels accounted for nearly 70 percent of the electricity generated in the country in 2014.

Why Solar Energy Is a Promising Solution
Thriving Solar Industry:
Harnessing the energy from the sun through solar provides an alternative to using fossil fuels to generate electricity, and the solar industry has been growing rapidly in recent years: between 2010 and 2014, U.S. energy production via solar energy grew by more than 400 percent. Multiple factors are contributing to the growth in the use of solar energy. The U.S. government, private corporations, and consumers have supported solar energy by investing in solar projects, using solar to power their facilities, and incorporating solar into their households. Solar energy has also become more accessible, with the cost of solar panels decreasing by more than half in the past four years.

Solar Job Opportunities:
The solar industry is currently one of the sectors with the fastest job growth in the nation and has created 2.3 million jobs worldwide. Training for entry into the solar energy industry varies in length from less than two years to more than five years, depending upon the specific position. For example, HVAC Technicians with Solar Expertise can routinely complete their basic HVAC training and specialty training within three to five years and make approximately $41,100 annually. If you’re thinking about jumping into the field of solar energy, take a look at the section of the infographic titled, “Getting on Board: Working in Solar.”

As the infographic details, not only is the solar energy industry growing but it is also providing numerous opportunities for college students and recent grads to contribute to a more environmentally sustainable future.

Compiled by Monica Gomez