Solar Industry Needs Workers

California's fascination with solar power has created thousands of jobs in the state and will probably add thousands more, according to a new survey of the industry.

The survey, by two community college researchers, estimates that solar companies in California now employ between 16,500 and 17,500 people and may hire another 5,000 in the next year.

"You don't need a Ph.D. or a B.A. to get into this industry," Carrese said. "It's an opportunity to rebuild the working-class jobs that have been lost."

Salaries vary by the type of job and the level of experience. Entry-level solar installers, for example, make a median salary of $31,200 per year, while their more seasoned colleagues earn $60,000. Experienced solar designers and engineers earn a median salary of $83,000.

"These are good jobs," Carrese said. "You can support a family on them."

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