A Special Message to Electricians: Saving an Electrical Industry in Decline
By: Jerry Durham | Apr 06, 2021
How Solar PV Can Save the Electrical Trade During a Recession
Part 2 of 3
Welcome to part two of this special three-part series.
I am an electrical instructor for JADE Learning, as well as an electrician and senior electrical inspector for the state of North Carolina. Like you, all of us at JADE Learning are depending on a thriving electrical industry for our continued success. We also understand how vital it is for everyone in the industry to weather the current economic downturn. That is why we want to share an opportunity for growth, when so many business sectors are managing a decline.
What is Happening to Our Industry?
The electrical industry is suffering a recession. I know some of you are staying busy right now, particularly if your focus is new home construction. However, electricians depending on new commercial construction and remodeling projects are down as much as 50% from their normal workload. Economic uncertainty has led to delays and outright cancelations of many commercial projects, and supply chain disruptions have only exasperated the problem.
To put the problem in perspective, the nonresidential construction sector lost 975,000 jobs over the past year. Beyond grocery store expansions, hospital upfits, and a select few contracts for the expansion of warehouse space for online retailers, very few commercial jobs have returned.
The Opportunity of a Lifetime
On the surface, the future appears bleak for electricians and those depending on the electrical industry for their success. Any other day, I would resign myself to the fact that our industry is in for a very tough go of it. However, there is more to the story.
The U.S. federal government has made it abundantly clear that billions and perhaps trillions of dollars will be invested in green energy programs across the country. That means government subsidized solar PV installations, performed by licensed electricians, will be leading the way.
Tax-breaks, incentives, and rebates are expected to flow to home and business owners as enticements to transition to solar-generated power. Since PV system installation is anything but a DIY project, it will be America’s licensed electricians that receive the bulk of the government incentives. The money will be going to electricians, but only to the electricians that prepare themselves to install PV systems.
Solar PV System Installation, Subsidized by the U.S. Government, is Set to Spur Unprecedented Growth in the Electrical Industry
If you are an electrical contractor or electrician that is holding out until the very end to embrace solar PV technology, I am telling you the time is now.
PV installations can save homeowners anywhere between $10,000 and $30,000 over the lifetime of the system, and the cost to install a system has declined almost 80% over the past 10 years. Solar capacity has the potential to grow by more than 300% by 2025.
As of 2019, 46% of U.S. homeowners were reported to be considering a new PV system for their home. That’s over 40,000,000 PV systems nationwide.
The U.S. federal government has determined that hundreds of millions of dollars will fuel green energy electrical projects for the country for years to come. Money is going towards rebates, tax credits, and incentives for homeowners and businesses to add solar PV systems to their buildings.
Early 2021 Benefits
- Federal Tax Credit: There is currently a federal tax credit for homeowners of 22% for PV systems installed in 2021.
- State Tax Credits: 9 states offer income tax credits for solar technology installs.
- Rebate Programs: 17 states offer rebate programs that are generally between $.20 and $.75 per watt.
- Performance-Based Incentives: 11 states offer performance-based incentives based on actual system production. This can be anywhere between $.005 to $.07 per kWh of production.
- Property and Sales Tax Incentives: 36 states offer incentives that provide property tax exemptions, and 22 states exempt solar energy from sales taxes.
JADE Learning Built a PV Course Just for You
Electricians are not inherently born with solar PV skills. PV system technology is new, and it is not a part of the trade we grew up with.
With general electricians in mind, JADE Learning’s electricians and inspectors designed a very affordable course for the sole purpose of transitioning the general electrician to fully understand solar PV system components and their installation.
In response to the current hardship in the electrical trade, JADE Learning is releasing this 4-hour video-based course on Installing Solar PV Systems for only $67.50. That price is equivalent to a nice dinner out for two and is being offered through May 15, 2021.
The course is like nothing else we could find on the market. It fills the gap between residential/commercial electricians and the electrician that understands solar PV system installation. It is a very specific void that has been overlooked for too long.
Installing Solar PV Systems starts at the beginning, using the 2017 National Electrical Code (NEC) as our guide, and covers:
- How PV systems convert sunlight to usable electricity
- The different types of PV modules (solar panels) available for PV systems
- The components that make up PV systems
- The types of PV systems, how they work and how they differ from one another
- How PV system-generated electricity merges with power generated by the utility company
- Bidirectional metering (net metering) that pays PV customers for generating PV power
- Disconnect requirements for ac and dc circuits of PV systems
- Grounding and bonding requirements for PV systems
- Selecting and sizing conductors for PV systems
- Selecting ac and dc overcurrent and ground fault protection for PV systems
- Rapid shut down systems for PV systems
- Labeling PV system components
- Installing a PV system compliant with the 2017 NEC
This Investment Can Power Your Career
The future of the electrical trade is solar PV technology, and the future is upon us.
I know many of you would have preferred to put the transition to solar off for a bit longer. It is a lot of new information and no doubt seems confusing. However, I will be there with you to teach PV terminology, provide clear explanations on how PV components work, and guide you to put the components together. We will make the “unknowable,” knowable and we will keep it painless.
Join us again next week for part three of the series where I share some incredible industry statistics.