the (new) american worker


SolarCity Catching Headwinds, Adding Jobs in 2010
April 18, 2010, 10:36 pm
Filed under: solar | Tags: , , , ,

Office with a view: Foster City, CA-based SolarCity is hiring for a range of roles to support its growing solar installation business.

A few days back, I wrote about the impressive growth in the residential solar market in 2009. One company that has caught these headwinds is SolarCity, a Foster City, CA-based solar leasing company that notably offers “no-money-down” leases for home solar installations. Apparently, more and more consumers are now taking SolarCity up on its offer – the San Jose Mercury News reports that the company added almost 300 jobs last year and anticipates adding another 250 in 2010. A spokesman for the company emphasized that these jobs were full-time, full benefits jobs – in my mind, an attractive transition for all those laid-off home contractors out there.

A quick scan of some job posting boards shows SolarCity isn’t just tossing around hiring claims for good press – they are indeed hiring, for a wide range of gigs. Take a look at Indeed.com, and you can see SolarCity is hiring everyone from installers to sales to brand management – the field or the corporate office – take your pick!

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Tax Credits Continue To Boost Residential Solar Market

Being tax day, I thought I’d take a look at solar power – a renewable that gets tremendous support from the federal government, in the form of tax credits and other incentives. According to a Dow Jones piece today, this push is paying off, most prominently in residential solar power installation, which experienced 37 percent growth in 2009, up from 351 megawatts installed in 2008.

Residential solar projects doubled their growth in 2009, likely driven by federal and state solar installation tax credits.

What does this all mean? It means steep reductions in solar costs for the residential consumer and … my favorite … good jobs! Dow Jones reports that the solar industry added 10,000 jobs in 2009, to round out at 46,000 total workers in the U.S. solar industry. Driving this demand demand is the $270 million of federal grants the government is doling out to solar project owners, and for consumers, credits like California’s 7.5% state income tax credit on the purchase and installation costs of home solar or wind energy systems.

Though credits like California’s have been widely reported, I wonder if tax season will be able to really drive it home. Seeing it on your return – and the credits available – could hit the right note with those on-the-fence consumers.



Paterson and the “Largest Solar Initiative in State History”
February 13, 2010, 11:45 pm
Filed under: solar | Tags: , , , ,

New York Governor David Paterson can barely keep himself in office, but today he announced “the largest solar initiative in State history.”

Um, ok. Let’s hope the New York Power Authority isn’t relying too much on Paterson for this, since it is questionable at this point if he will be able to withstand calls to step down.

If Governor Paterson can withstand calls to resign, he may be able to see through the start of "the largest solar initiative in State history."

In any case, according to Paterson’s statement, the NYPA is seeking developers who will build and operate up to 100 megawatts photovoltaic systems (PVs) across New York State. The NYPA will then enter into purchase agreements with developers, allowing itself to manage contracting and distribution to users like universities and public agencies. With the potential to power “the equivalent of 15,000 homes,” this will be the largest solar initiative New York State has ever undertaken.

Taking a cue from the Obama playbook, there is the requisite statement of stimulating “the economy with new clean energy jobs.” 50,000 new jobs, in fact – a “conservative” number, according to the press release. I think someone in the press office needs to ease up on the morning lattes – let’s see some hiring before we start calling 50,000 new jobs “conservative.”