Solar tops clean-tech jobs, says research

top5cleansectorsPortland, Ore. —The top five sectors for clean-tech job activity in the U.S., based on a combination of job placements, job postings, and public and private investments, are solar, biofuels and biomaterials, conservation and efficiency, smart grid, and wind power, according to a new report from Clean Edge Inc.

The report covers topics such as how conservation and efficiency are creating tens of thousands of new jobs; how utilities facing an aging workforce are turning to a new stable of workers trained in clean tech and the smart grid; and how new educational programs are opening up clean-tech career paths, according to the study.

The report, Clean Tech Job Trends 2009, shows that the clean-technology sector is now one of the largest recipients of venture capital (VC) dollars — along with biotech, software, and medical devices — with clean energy alone accounting for $3.35 billion in the U.S. in 2008, according to New Energy Finance, said Clean Edge. Globally, VC and private equity totaled $13.5 billion in clean-energy investments last year.

The study also identifies the top 15 metro areas in the U.S. for clean-tech jobs. This list includes well-touted clean-tech centers such as San Francisco and Boston together with less obvious contenders such as Chicago and Houston.

The study also reveals how formerly closed manufacturing facilities, often in hard-hit industrial areas, are being retrofitted from traditional industry roles into new and emerging clean-tech activities.


Researchers says clean-tech manufacturers are setting up shop in places where they can hire skilled workers laid off in previous plant shutdowns, with minimal retraining. However, many clean-tech deployments have been put on hold or completely scrapped due to the downturn in the broader economy, according to the study.

The study also provides an online resource guide for clean-tech job seekers and employers including references to clean-tech books, reports, Web sites, jobs boards, job fairs, networking organizations, and educational programs from trade schools to MBAs.