Careers in alternative energy can have you working with biofuels, wind energy, solar energy, and many other green energy sources yet to be developed. This is an industry that is expected to grow as we move towards fuel efficiency and renewable energy sources. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, “Electricity generated from renewable sources is one of the fastest growing segments of the electric power industry.” Since green and alternative energy is cleaner and generally less harmful to the environment and thus wildlife, renewable energy jobs have a substantial and positive impact on the environment as a whole. These jobs include engineers, biologists, environmental scientists, construction workers, geologists, and maintenance technicians.
Careers in Alternative Energy Job Duties
General job duties will depend on the specific field but can include:
- *Design energy structures such as solar panels or wind turbines
- *Design and implement energy use systems for metropolitan areas
- *Monitor wildlife and environmental impact as a result of the development of energy systems
- *Permit processing
- *Environmental impact reports related to the energy systems construction
- *Construct and install energy systems
- *Land acquisition
- *Project management
- *Analyzing the geology of sites to be develop for energy use
- *Maintenance of systems
- *Research and develop innovative energy sources such as biofuels
Most positions within the renewable energy jobs field will require working both indoors and outdoors. Travel to remote locations will also be required.
Careers in Alternative Energy Salary
Salary greatly varies based on the specific position. At the low end you will make about $40,000 a year to over $100,000 a year on the high end for project managers and engineers.
Education and Experience Requirements
The amount and type of education and previous experience you need to start a career in green energy will depend on the specific job that interests you. Engineers, biologists, and other scientists will need at least a bachelor’s degree in that field of study, some need a PhD. Technicians and construction workers will need previous experience in general construction and have training specific to the energy systems serviced or under construction. Specialized training in solar or wind energy can now be found at many community colleges and through the Institute for Sustainable Power Quality technical programs. Solar training is also available through some unions, such as the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
The ability to work in remote locations, knowledge of CEQA and/or NEPA, and experience using field equipment such as GPS units and off-road vehicles will benefit you in gaining employment in several areas of green energy use.
Where to Find Jobs in Alternative Energy
You can start your renewable energy jobs search by looking at job postings in government agencies and private businesses, such as solar energy companies. Universities are often involved in research and development of and implementation of new alternative energy sources.