The potential for Wind and Solar Energy in the United States is enormous. It is estimated that the U.S. potential is many times what we consume. While solar especially can be found anywhere the sun shines, it is found in greatest abundance in the southwest part of the U.S. The maximum solar energy footprint is located in California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, West Texas, and the Texas Panhandle. Latitude, elevation, and climate, are critical in providing a strong solar resource.
For this reason and as part of Amarillo College’s existing Renewable Energy Program, a National Science Foundation supported Solar Energy Technician program was initiated. This three year grant which started in 2010 integrates new solar courses into the existing Renewable Wind Technician Program and curriculum. Core courses in electrical, mechanical, energy, and safety are part of both certificate and degree options. Students can opt for either wind, solar, or both by adding the solar specific classes. By doing so, students will be well prepared for the Renewable Energy industry in either wind or solar employment.
The U.S. Department of Energy predicts Texas to be one of the hottest markets for jobs in the industry. Graduates will enter a job market that analysts predict will generate as many as 123,000 new technologically advanced jobs in the Texas solar market by 2020. Those in the industry indicate salaries that range from $30,000 annually for entry level positions, up to $50,000, depending on the level of experience.
ENER 1350: Overview of Energy Industry
HART 1311: Solar Fundamentals
ELMT 1409: Solar Photovoltaic Systems
HART 1393: Special Topics in Solar Technology/Technician