Solar the bet for job creation

As of August 2010, the Australian solar industry employed an estimated 11,500 workers.
As of August 2010, the Australian solar industry employed an estimated 11,500 workers.

SOLAR companies are on target to add jobs at a greater rate than the majority of business sectors in the economy, according to a survey conducted by Australian solar panel designer and installer Sun Connect.

The company asked more than 100 solar hot water and solar panel installers for their thoughts on the industry and where it was headed in the next 12 months and found most were poised for impressive growth.

As of August 2010, the Australian solar industry employed an estimated 11,500 workers.

Sun Connect found 89% of solar firms expected to add jobs in the coming year, while only 3% expected to cut workers.

The Clean Energy Council estimated there will be over 24,000 jobs by 2020 in the solar and related industries.

According to the CEC, more than 200,000 homes have installed PV solar panels since 2001 and an extra 100,000 new solar customers are expected in 2011 alone.

An end to the solar rebate, expected in July, may rain on part of that parade.

“Our research has a lot of interesting information, but its most interesting detail is how prevalent these jobs will be across several industries,” Sun Connect James Strahan said.

“You don’t have to have a degree in solar engineering to work in this field. It’s similar to how you can be a great salesperson in retail or insurance or medical equipment.”

Survey findings

When was your business established?

  • Within the past year 15%
  • 1-5 years ago 43%
  • 6-10 years ago 20%
  • More than 10 years ago 22%

Based on current projections, is your net income likely to be higher or lower than last financial year?

  • Higher 81%
  • Lower 8%
  • About the same 11%

How many people do you employ?

  • One person only 3%
  • 2-10 people 29%
  • 11 – 50 people 47%
  • 50 people plus 21%

Will you hire more in the coming 12 months?

  • Cut staff 3%
  • No 8%
  • One person only 18%
  • 2-5 people 26%
  • More than 5 people 45%

What positions are you considering?

  • Solar installers or technicians 45%
  • Production workers 11%
  • Sales & Marketing staff 27%
  • Reception and Administrative staff 18%
  • HR & Legal staff 9%
  • Accountants and finance staff 6%
  • First-line supervisors or managers 21%

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