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Long back, I did a post of renewable energy jobs and careers, mainly the result of a number of queries I was getting from youngsters.

I am returning to the topic of renewable energy careers once more, this time after having conducted a special session on renewable energy careers at REaction 2012, which EAI organized in Jul 2012 and which became India’s most comprehensive and largest renewable energy conference & training program. (We also had an interesting organization, Contact Singapore, who are looking for good cleantech talent for Singapore, as the sponsor for the Renewable Energy Careers section).

When I consider the renewable energy careers domain once again, I look at it from both depth and breadth (or say quality and quantity). Career options in renewable energy are available that involve significant expertise (though these could be fewer in number), as well as those that are available in large numbers and do not require that high an expertise.

Let me provide examples. A key part of the wind turbines is the wind turbine blade. The quality of the blade has a critical bearing on the overall output and productivity from the wind turbine. The design of the turbine blade hence is a vital part of the wind power industry, and requires significant expertise in high end domains such as CFD (computational fluid dynamics), FEA (finite element analysis) etc. There are only a few companies that specialise in blade manufacturing and in fact, the world’s largest and most prominent wind turbine blade manufacturer, LM Blades, has offices in India. While an exciting domain to work in, this is a niche area and will benefit only a few high end experts.

The other end of the spectrum could be more interesting to the ordinary you and me. An example of this will be solar panel installation on rooftops. While this will require some training, becoming a professional in this sector will not require high end educational background. Equally interesting is the fact that unlike the case of wind turbine blade design that will benefit a few, rooftop solar panel installation market in India is likely to benefit tens of thousands of technicians, given the rate at which the Indian solar market is growing.

You can get a good idea of the broad spectrum of job opportunities available in the renewable energy industry from the EAI Jobs section. A review of the list available here will show that in large parts, renewable energy industry is like any other industry – it needs the nuts and bolts support jobs such as finance/accounting, HR, business development/sales etc. I’d in fact hazard a guess that out of the 5 million jobs that EAI estimates will be created in the renewable energy / cleantech sectors by 2020, over 4 million of these will be in these traditional nuts and bolts roles. The rest 20% could be more specialized (usually engineers/technicians/researchers with specialized skills). But it should be noted that some of the commodity jobs might still require some customized knowledge of the renewable energy industry – a sales person in a solar firm will be able to do a far better job if he has a good grounding in the solar power industry, for example.

A detailed review of the link mentioned earlier gave me a wealth of diverse career / job opportunities

  • Engineering
  • Project Manager
  • Business Development
  • Production
  • Business Head
  • Tech Support
  • Quality Control
  • Consultant
  • Research
  • Finance/Accounting
  • Financial Management – Business plans, financial models
  • Commercial services
  • Human Resources
  • Procurement
  • Field Engineers
  • Site Supervisors
  • Marketing & Advertising
  • Marketing & Communications/PR
  • Site Assessment
  • Back office executives
  • R&D
  • CFO
  • Business Analyst
  • Corporate Planning
  • Process Engineering
  • Design
  • Software Developer
  • Construction Engineers
  • Soil Scientists
  • Logistics Management
  • Resource Analysis Specialists
  • Machinery & Equipment Management
  • Data & Statistics Management – Analytics Specialists
  • Project Finance Specialists

Phew! That’s a huge lot of career opportunities indeed!