When we moved to Colorado, I took a teaching job. Then my employer decided to start the school year in person during the pandemic, and before vaccines were available. With an immunocompromised partner, that was clearly not going to be a safe choice for my family. So I quit.
I had been intending for years to switch back to technical work when my last child went to college and I no longer needed summers off with my children. The pandemic was just the trigger for me to actually act on that intention. I spent my 6 months of unemployment taking online classes in the design of solar PV systems from an outstanding organization I had taken workshops from in the past: Solar Energy International in Paonia, Colorado.
With a degree in Electrical Engineering and the classwork for a NABCEP certification in PV design on my resume, I landed an entry-level position as a PV designer. I was making even less than I had been as a HS teacher at a private school. But it was a start! I was thrilled to be putting my work effort towards the solution of the biggest problem of our generation: climate change.
After 8 months, I have 50 installed systems to my name, adding up to over 350 kW of generation, with many more in the pipeline. The task of converting our electric grid to 100% renewable, carbon-free generation over the next 2 decades is huge! But the demand is strong, since solar power is now cheaper than buying power from the grid. If you have skills in sales, project management, construction, drafting, or engineering, I encourage you to consider joining the renewable energy industry!