Many signs point to rapid growth in the energy storage market in the years ahead. In the US and around the world, solar projects and wind farms are producing more energy now than ever before. There are no signs of a slow down ahead. Meanwhile, battery costs and storage system costs go down year after year. And consumers discover more and more ways to save money with storage.
At the same time, policymakers are setting energy storage targets and industry leaders are making long-term commitments to storage. For example, California is requiring utilities to add 1.3 gigawatts of energy storage by 2020. In addition, manufacturers are investing heavily to expand production capacity.
While the storage market is heading in the right direction, let’s not forget that today it is still relatively small and prone to volatility. Markets can turn on and off in a hurry. Three years ago, when a natural gas leak in Southern California threatened the power supply, the state responded by fast-tracking storage project approvals. Developers brought 70 megawatts of new capacity online in a hurry. Then the fast-track window closed. The PJM Interconnect, a regional transmission territory in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, has also tweaked the market with mixed price signals, saying, ‘Now you see me. Now you don’t.’
Throughout all this change, one fact has remained the same. The demand for talented people with energy storage experience always exceeds the supply. We believe this will continue as the market creates new jobs. Expect to see significant demand in the job categories below.
Companies of all kinds need trained salespeople to find customers and make sure products and services meet customers’ needs. As we said in a recent post about solar jobs, the difference between sales and business development is debatable. In business development roles, people tend to identify and develop partnership, acquisition and expansion opportunities and strategic planning for moving into new markets. In this case, however, I’m lumping the two groups together as “sales.”
Sales engineers identify customers, applications, and markets that are an attractive fit for the company’s products and services. They originate sales, develop strategies to engage customers, and build project pipelines.
Business development managers originate and manage business relationships, develop deal pipelines and close new deals. This may include developing project proposals, evaluating risk, providing due diligence, negotiating contracts, performing financial and market analysis, and supporting finance and engineering teams.
Engineers design and implement the technical aspects of complex systems and projects. That may mean planning and managing electrical or mechanical systems, energy distribution systems, or operational design and management.
Project engineers oversee and coordinate the design, testing, certification and manufacturing of storage components and systems. They may design and manage the development of manufacturing plants. They may work closely with research teams, product developers and software developers.
Mechanical engineers design, model and develop energy storage systems ranging from flywheels to hydropower storage ponds to batteries. Knowledge of electrical engineering may also be required in these roles.
Project managers are responsible for delivering projects on time, within budget and to quality specifications. They may assist with project development and design. They must be able to translate financial, engineering and construction concepts across disciplines to keep teams on track.
Project managers lead energy systems design, planning, development, and installation. They work closely with customers, contractors, suppliers and internal staff.
IT workers handle data collection and analysis and software engineering. Individuals who take on these roles must be skilled in software design, coding, debugging, and the testing and optimization of both software and hardware systems.
Software engineers build, test, support and refine new products and services to manage, monitor and track energy resources and performance. They may also develop software to facilitate the interaction of storage systems with energy distribution and usage systems such as the electric grid and electric vehicles.
Software architects lead project development and design the structure, functionality and behaviors of software systems that run energy storage systems and enable them to report performance and interact with other systems.
Discover new talent
Our jobseeker network has delivered job fit candidates to energy storage companies of all sizes and various stages of growth. Get to know some of the individuals in our network by calling (916) 565-2700 or emailing us at [email protected].