Solar Jobs: Solar to Attract $20 Billion in Investments by 2016

A highway exit for Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, California, where many Bay Area venture capital firms are based
A highway exit for Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, California, where many Bay Area venture capital firms are based

Solar power’s beginning to pull ahead in the race among energy sources in the U.S. A recent Frost & Sullivan report found that by 2016, utility-scale solar’s going to attract more than $20 billion in investments. That’s great news for green energy and solar jobs across the country.

There may still be some uncertainty about the future of solar jobs, but the outlook looks pretty bright right now, thanks to major high-profile investors like Warren Buffet, MetLife Insurance and Citi. Now, Frost & Sullivan’s report, “Analysis of the U.S. Utility Scale Solar Power Market,” tells us that in 2011, the industry attracted investments to the tune of $1.91 billion. It also tells us that by 2016, that take should raise to about $20.44 billion.

While photovoltaic solar jobs still dominate the utility scale market, CSP development is moving full speed ahead.

Renewable portfolio standards, which set green energy goals and timelines in certain states, are part of what’s behind this positive prediction for the future of solar jobs. Although currently, the price of photovoltaic modules is still declining, and investment figures haven’t exactly skyrocketed yet.

While the recent fiscal deal does provide credits for solar, and grants are extended through March 2013, no one’s really sure what’s going to happen after that. This could lead to some difficulties when it comes to financing projects and solar jobs this year.

Frost & Sullivan’s analyst, Georgina Benedetti, said, “To be willing to fund these projects, banks and investors must be confident that a power plant will operate long enough to return their investment. Therefore, well-established project developers using proven technologies will have an advantage in obtaining financing.”

Regardless of short-term issues that may crop up, Frost & Sullivan’s report for the future of solar jobs is pretty inspiring.

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