Florida's solar industry growing, leading to more higher-paying jobs

Solar growing faster than most industries in U.S.
Posted at 2:15 PM, Aug 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-16 10:47:30-04

A growing industry, designed to save you hundreds in electric costs, is taking Florida by storm.

Solar is growing faster than most industries across the country, leading to more higher-paying positions in the sunshine state.

While chances are driving through your neighborhood you won't see many solar panels on homes, industry leaders say that could soon be about to change in Florida.

In the last few years, Solar Installer Adrian Miranda is working more than ever.

"We sweat and we labor hard," he said after just coming down the ladder of a Land O' Lakes homes. "...I've seen the industry grow throughout the years."

Tim Converse, owner of Solar Solutions, based in Tampa, believes he may be able to double his  company of about 15 people in the next few years.

"We've put a couple more salespeople out there and going to add some more installers so definitely heading in the right direction," Converse said.

Florida voters could soon pass Amendment 4, which in part would offer homeowners who install solar panels tax breaks, lowering the price so more people can use them. Those against the amendment say government shouldn't be providing tax breaks, saying it interferes with the free market.

But even so, solar companies are now seeing more potential to hire.

"I think any time there's an opportunity for the cost to go down, it's going to increase sales," Converse said.

If you are looking to become a solar installer like Miranda, you don't need a college degree. Instead, a training program at a local technical school or even community college. As of last year, the average salary was about 37 thousand a year nationwide.

'It's fun," Miranda said. "Every day is a new project. It's never stale."

If the solar amendment makes it through the process, it would last for  the next 20 years, potentially helping companies like Solar Solutions expand. Florida will vote on Amendment 4 on Aug. 30.