As demand for solar energy increases, so does interest in Midwest

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Renewable energy industries like wind turbines and solar panels saw some of the largest job growth last year and industry experts say the market will likely continue to grow.

Jayson Waller, founder and CEO of PowerHome Solar, said there is a common misconception that solar panels are only worth it if you’re based in a sunny state. However, Waller said the state with their largest customer base is Michigan, and PowerHome Solar sees a high volume of inquiries from the Midwest because of how expensive power can be.

“Especially in today’s age, that the greatest bad and the more electric cars that come out there, the more times we’re going to lose power,” said Waller. “This also allows the customers to produce that energy, and then save it and store it in their battery in case the power goes out as well.”

Waller said there is an increased demand for solar panels for residences and businesses across the country.

“Manufacturers, they’re given deadlines when they’re going to be all electric, that that ship is on its way,” Waller said. “In order to be able to manage that, how are we going to get more power? The utility companies can’t burn more coal. They can’t create new nuclear plants real fast. I mean, we’re struggling.”

The higher demand for alternative energy is proven by the numbers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics places both wind turbine technicians and solar panel installers in the top five in-demand jobs in the market and predicts the career will grow an additional 50% by 2029.

Waller called the idea that solar panels only work for the sunnier states a misconception. He said Michigan is one of the highest numbers of installations for PowerHome Solar and that they continue to see interest across the Midwest.

“The production of the sun that is done in like the Midwest is only about 15% less than the southern states,” said Waller. “However, the cost of power is about 60%, higher. So, 60 minus 15 [is] 45%. Better return for people like in Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, all the Midwest, because the utility companies are charging so much money for power.”

With that increased demand for services comes a higher need for employees. PowerHome Solar is currently hiring thousands of positions across their company, including some in Fort Wayne. They are looking for field workers like electricians and installers as well as office staff like administration and customer care. Find a full list of positions and how to apply on their website.

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