A journey into the heart of the growing clean energy sector and what we learned while we were there

It’s no secret that the solar industry is facing an unprecedented time in our evolution. The opportunities have never been greater, and at the same time we face new and perplexing challenges on the regulatory and other fronts. 

To better understand what the industry is facing and how HeatSpring can help, we recently reached out to more than sixty HeatSpring Teams to hear about your plans for 2024, what is exciting you, and the barriers you see to expansion. 

Who are HeatSpring Teams?

HeatSpring Teams represent the growing diversity of the solar industry. They work in settings ranging from small-mid sized family-owned installation firms to large EPCs. They are engineers, electricians, and human resources and talent development specialists. They may also work for utilities, manufacturers, distributors, or software companies. They are start-ups formed to support the urgent need to transform our energy sector and decades and older companies from the electrical or other infrastructure sectors who have expanded their business model to include solar. 

HeatSpring Teams are everywhere. Most companies cover large and growing service areas, with many operating in multiple regions or states. 

What Opportunities do Teams See for 2024?

Teams design, install, and maintain all sizes of systems, but most we spoke with expect the commercial and utility-scale market to grow more significantly in the coming year, citing specific regulatory challenges around residential installations. Most everyone we spoke with said they are either installing energy storage systems or ‘considering’ getting started. Many are designing and installing EV charging infrastructure and emphasizing their O&M services. 

What Do Teams Need Help With?

More training!
We are encouraged to hear that many Teams recognize the role effective training plays in things like employee retention and work quality. It’s no surprise that Teams plan to continue to leverage HeatSpring to maintain or earn new NABCEP certifications. We also heard time and again that Teams will use HeatSpring’s content focused on solar and storage C&I and utility-scale design and installation to support their growth in those sectors. Increasingly, Teams are requesting content to upskill their non-technical employees. They are looking for ways to onboard those new to the workforce or to solar and are requesting learning pathways to help build knowledge step by step in a logical progression. 


All the Teams we spoke with who install systems larger than 1 MW were aware of the apprenticeship and prevailing wage requirements in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA.) Apprenticeship is a ‘learn and earn’ model long used in the trades and adjacent industries. We hear that Teams are implementing the IRA requirement in one of three ways: They are outsourcing installation to union or non-union entities with well-developed apprenticeship pathways, partnering with groups such as IEC and ABC on their apprenticeship programs, or developing their own registered apprenticeship programs

An apprenticeship is a career path whereby employers develop their workforce through a combination of on-the-job training (OJT) under the supervision of a mentor, and related technical instruction (RTI) delivered in-person or virtually by a knowledgeable teacher.

Looking Forward

One of the top challenges cited by professionals globally is lack of awareness about solar careers and the difficulty recruiting skilled workers.  A recent LinkedIn global report reinforces the message that ‘green’ skills are in demand and workers with these skills are not yet available in the numbers we need to transform the energy industry. At the same time, we face similar challenges to adjacent industries who lack workers with basic employability skills, compounded by a long-standing dis-incentivization of careers in the trades. 

Our HeatSpring Teams are no different, with many citing the need to ‘grow talent from the ground up.’ We at HeatSpring could not agree more, and are standing by to support you as you develop the next generation of solar workers.