New Solar Jobs in Tennessee a Positive Sign for the Industry

By Marlena Chertock | Oct 19, 2020
A male worker installing solar panels

Powerhome Solar, which provides solar energy services for residential customers and business owners in nine states, is working to bring up to 100 jobs to Knoxville, Tenn. The solar energy and efficiency service company, headquartered in Mooresville, N.C., plans to hire solar panel installers and warehouse personnel.

“We’ve heard loud and clear that homeowners across the state are interested in owning their power and maintaining a consistent energy payment,” said Powerhome Solar’s CEO Jayson Waller. “The cost of solar power in Tennessee is increasingly affordable, and our panels are financed for roughly the same cost as an electric bill. When the financing ends, so does the payment for solar energy.”

Currently, the company employs nearly 1,500 people across the country. Its Knoxville office will be the company’s second office in the state, after opening an office in Nashville in April. Powerhome Solar has also added locations in Harrisburg, Pa., and Fayetteville, N.C.

“Based on consumer interest, we need to open a second office [in Tennessee] to accommodate for our growing customer base,” Waller said.

The company’s positions require workers who are electrically or mechanically inclined and can climb ladders or work on a roof, according to Powerhome Solar’s job listings. It will provide on-the-job training for these positions. Many electrical contractor jobs and jobs in solar energy require years of apprenticeship and training to gain the necessary technical skills and the knowledge to keep oneself safe on the job.

Powerhome Solar’s hiring for solar jobs is a good sign for an industry suffering during the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 72,000 U.S. solar workers lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic, according to a fact sheet from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Washington, D.C. Back in March, Wood Mackenzie, Annapolis, Md., forecasted that distributed solar would experience a 31% decline in 2020. The sector most impacted by job losses and work stoppages is distributed generation, which includes residential and commercial projects, according to SEIA.

Despite this downturn due to the coronavirus pandemic, solar power continues to be one of the fastest-growing industries in the country. The industry added jobs at a rate five times higher than the national average over the last five years. This growth is expected to continue into the future: employment of solar photovoltaic (PV) installers is projected to grow 51% from 2019 to 2029, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Washington, D.C. This is much faster than the average for all occupations.

As the cost of PV panels continues to decrease, more households may take advantage of residential solar systems, according to the BLS. With solar leasing plans and community solar co-ops, homeowners are not forced to bear the upfront costs of installation, which further increases demand. These systems will all require workers who can install and maintain them.

About The Author

Chertock is a poet and renewable energy and science journalist in the Washington, D.C., area. Contact her at [email protected].


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