Recession Proof Jobs, Green Energy Industries

September 22, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
While many companies are cutting jobs, one industry is hiring. Green energy is seeing major growth. Some employment experts even call it recession-proof.Chad Pricolo is with "Real Goods Solar" ... installing a solar system on this Clovis home. Pricolo and his crew can hardly keep up with the demand.

Pricolo said, "I was just blown away, hey we're scheduled months out. Not a day or two, not a week or two jobs, we're scheduled months out. We've had to take on a third crew, we're trying to establish a fourth crew, just to keep up and make sure we're keeping the customers happy."

The Fresno father used to work in the construction industry. Then the housing boom ...went bust.

"Maybe six months went by, and called a couple of us in, laid us off, then I was in a big tailspin because I had pulled all my resumes out, I thought I was set," said Pricolo.

Pricolo had recently gotten a solar system for his own home ... and knew his construction-related skills could transition to a job in solar.

Pricolo said, "I thought, well, this is the future. I have a good chance, in regards to stability."

His job security comes from new customers like the Crews family in Clovis, fueling the green energy demand. They were tired of energy bills as high as 900-dollars!

Linda Crews said, "We're looking at ways to decrease our expenses, with the economy ... and the environment."

Solar was an attractive option ... but the upfront investment wasn't.

Getting into solar, it requires a huge chunk of money. Until now, that wasn't something that was possible for us.

Now companies, like Sunrun, are offering residential leases on solar systems. Customers get solar installed for one thousand dollars up front. Sunrun owns the system and maintains it.

Katie Brodnick with Sunrun said, "We've seen sales increase over 300% as compared to last year and that leads to direct growth for companies like Real Goods. They need to hire more people to design and install the system."

And that's something Chad and his co-workers know firsthand.

"I'm grateful, extremely grateful," said Pricolo.


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