Solar Jobs Lagging Even Before NV Net-Metering Decision

Jan 19, 2016

Credit CoCreatr, Flickr, CC Attribution 2.0 Generic

  Last week state regulators ruled against suspending rate hikes for rooftop solar customers, which industry advocates say have sparked massive layoffs. But even before this decision, the industry was not faring as well as some had hoped. Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey reports.

Truckee Meadows Community College started its solar technician training program about six years ago and quickly saw enrollments of between 15 to 30 students. 

But that didn't last long, according to Jim New, dean of technical sciences.

"We've been seeing enrollments decline in the solar training program over the past couple of years, and that's dictated primarily by the job market," says New.

He says there’s not much demand for technicians right now and...

"The net-metering decision has also depressed our enrollment even further this year," he says.

The College of Southern Nevada in Henderson actually discontinued its solar training program altogether in 2014, also due to lack of demand.

New says they plan to scale back their program and change the curriculum to adapt better to market swings.

But the demand for renewable energy isn't going away, he says, and large commercial investments in solar such as those going in at the future Switch data center and the Tesla Gigafactory may provide a shot in the arm for their beleaguered program.