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Arkansas State University

How Solar Panels Are Impacting the Construction Industry

As the use of solar energy continues to grow across all industries and fields at a rapid pace, the need for skilled employees to harness renewable energy is also soaring. In 2019, there were nearly 250,000 employees in the solar energy field. That number should double over the next four years.

Solar panels are making a huge impact on the housing industry. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the construction field will add more than 800,000 jobs, with an emphasis on solar technology, by 2024.

The online Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Construction Management program at Arkansas State University (A-State) prepares students to meet the need for knowledgeable construction management employees with a strong educational foundation. Specifically, the program’s course titled Green Construction focuses on renewable energy and construction delivery systems for green buildings to provide insight into the future of the field. The Construction Physics course highlights the fundamental principles of modern construction and engineering.

For professionals involved in the construction of new homes or the remodeling of older homes, the application of solar panels is often top-of-mind. For professionals looking to invest in efficient, affordable energy, knowledge from this program will serve them well. As renewable energy gains popularity, knowledge in solar energy will be critical.

Why Go Solar?

There are several advantages to using solar energy for both homeowners and businesses, which is why it has become so popular over the last 15 years. Some advantages include:

  • Not climate-specific: Solar panels work in any climate by design. If a home cannot sustain solar panels, the owner can still benefit from their use through a community solar array.
  • Potential money-saver: Depending on the city, how much energy the solar panels generate and the amount of electricity consumption, homeowners and businesses can see savings on their monthly bills. The cost of solar energy has dropped every year since 2009.
  • Increased home value: Going solar is likely to increase the resale value of a home because solar panels are considered an upgrade. Some home values grow by as much as $15,000 for an average solar array.
  • Environmentally friendly: One of the biggest reasons homeowners use solar is because its use cuts down on atmospheric carbon, leading to less pollution. Individuals and corporations can diminish their carbon footprint by using solar.

Depending on the type and model of solar panel, the average installation cost for home solar panels is $16,000. The high-end cost is $35,000, while the low-end cost is $3,500, varying by state and region.

Aesthetically Speaking

One potential downside to solar panels is how they affect the look of a home or building. However, there are several ways for architects and construction managers to incorporate solar panels into the design to make it more pleasing visually. These methods include legibility, material planes, form follows, shading and disguise. For new home construction, these methods make solar energy use even more popular.

Legibility is an industrial look in which the inner workings are part of the overall design. Material planes celebrate the material aspect of the solar panel through the richness of the materials. Form follows adapts its shape to the sun’s path to make renewable energy use more effective and attractive. Shading provides shade for the structure and its outdoor space. Disguise incorporates the strategy of hiding solar panels through a compositional strategy.

With so many reasons for individuals and corporations to use solar, adhering to the demand will continue to be at the forefront of the construction industry. The knowledge provided by AState’s online bachelor’s program in construction management can help homeowners and businesses alike protect the environment and embrace the future of home ownership.

Graduates will gain practice in areas such as building project management, construction and design technology, industry insight and more. They will have the necessary construction and design knowledge to make sound energy decisions for their employers and clients and as individuals.

Learn more about A-State’s online B.S. in Construction Management program.

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