Renewable energy jobs aplenty at North Las Vegas career fair

Job-seekers and prospective employers converse at a clean energy career fair at the College of Southern Nevada campus in North Las Vegas Tuesday, April 23, 2024.

By Casey Harrison

April 24, 2024

The event helped connect prospective employees with industry leaders in renewable energy fields—while many of the jobs available don’t require a college degree.

Several dozen job seekers from across the Las Vegas area convened on Tuesday for a career fair in the valley’s north side to meet with local renewable energy companies highlighting a number of available positions in one of the state’s fastest-growing industries.

Organizers said the job fair, which ran from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the College of Southern Nevada’s North Las Vegas campus, was aimed at connecting prospective employees with industry leaders in fields such as electricity generation, energy storage and efficiency, and electric vehicle production—where many of the jobs available don’t require a college degree.

“Clean energy is something that everyone can participate in,” said Nevada Democratic US Rep. Steven Horsford, whose district includes the CSN campus. “It’s putting investment here in our community. More than $1 billion of renewable energy projects are scheduled in my district alone, and these projects need people who are ready to work.”

Horsford also credited President Joe Biden for signing into law a number of bills aimed at transitioning the US away from fossil fuels while simultaneously expanding job opportunities accessible to most Americans. Since the passage of Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), nearly 16,000 new jobs in the clean energy sector have been announced in Nevada, according to a February report from the progressive advocacy group Climate Power, which tracks the IRA’s implementation.

“It’s the largest investment to tackle the climate crisis that any country has made in the world,” Horsford said of the IRA. “These opportunities are real and they are impacting every corner.”

In addition to CSN, the event was sponsored by EmployNV, a state agency that connects workers with businesses and provides additional services like resume building and job matching.

Rising demand in solar

Recent government programs have made it much easier for homeowners in recent years to have solar panels installed, said Erick Furlan, a consultant for Sun Source Energy, which specializes in consumer solar installations.

Those programs have caused a surge in demand for consumer solar projects, which translates to a higher need for workers, Furlan said.

A 2022 analysis of renewable energy jobs from the Interstate Renewable Energy Council ranked Nevada the top state for the most solar jobs per capita with about 7,500 jobs.

But the industry’s dramatic growth in the state means even more jobs need to be filled.

“And what we’re looking for are folks with an entrepreneurial mindset,” Furlan said. “Our goal is to make the [solar-buying] process as seamless as possible for homeowners to make it as simple and easy a transition for them, and to save money in the process.”

And because so many subsidy programs exist for solar installations, some groups at Tuesday’s job fair, like the Nevada Clean Energy Fund (NCEF), specialize in helping consumers and business owners get funding assistance for projects ranging from solar installations to retrofitting old household appliances with newer, more efficient ones.

NCEF on Monday was awarded a $156 million grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to help subsidize solar projects in rural and urban low-income communities.

And while many Nevada officials—including Horsford—celebrated Monday’s grant award, Will Pregman, a loan officer with the nonprofit, said he’s all but certain the new funding will spur an even higher demand for renewable energy projects.

“We provide these financial technical resources to residents, to businesses to reduce costs, create jobs and meaningfully address climate change,” Pregman said. “This landmark funding represents a significant achievement in our efforts to continue to drive clean energy accessibility and sustainability across Nevada.”

  • Casey Harrison

    Casey Harrison is political correspondent for The Nevadan. Previously, he covered politics and the Oakland Athletics' relocation to Southern Nevada for the Las Vegas Sun, and before that, was a digital producer at The Detroit News. Casey graduated from Michigan State University in 2019.

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