The Best Paying Jobs In Energy: Get A Financially Rewarding Career While Saving The Planet
Fossil fuels like oil and gas were long an industry that attracted high-paying jobs with many different expertise that employers needed.
However, there has been an increasing shift away from non-renewables all over the world, and fortunately, companies working with renewable energy sources have many of the same requirements.
This has created a huge opportunity for employees to switch to services in the renewable sectors like solar and wind energy markets.
To help you plan for a career change into the renewable energy services, we’ve researched some of the best jobs with the highest average salaries for you.
Let’s dive right in.
The Top 22 Best Paying Jobs In The Energy Industry
1. Wind Farm Site Manager
Average salary: $104,970
Wind turbines require a lot of management activities, and the larger a wind farm is, the more management of employees and equipment is needed.
Site managers generally require a bachelor’s degree or higher in business and/or management with proven experience to maximize the productivity of both equipment and staff.
Average salary: $91,130
The oil and natural gas industry needed many geophysicists to explore potential resources both on land and at sea. But the shift to renewables and significant drops in oil prices all over the world are slowly making such jobs redundant.
Geothermal energy is a sector that requires much of the same experience anywhere. This makes this job one of the most in-demand climate change jobs now. Job offers mostly request bachelors or masters degrees in a geoscience discipline.
Wondering what a day in the life of a geoscientist or geologist looks like? Check out this excellent video to see for yourself.
3. Civil Engineer
Average salary: $86,640
Every electricity and energy company planning a new power plant will require civil engineers involved in construction.
Having a background in industrial construction projects is an absolute must, and you’ll need at least a bachelor's degree in engineering.
4. Financial Analyst For Renewable Energy Companies
Average salary: $85,660
Many areas of the renewable energy industry are still in their infancy, and increasing energy efficiency, calculating investment returns, conducting quantitative analyses of investment information, and marketing new services for a business that’s in this industry are heavily reliant on financial analysts.
Successful job seekers require a bachelor's or masters in finance and/or accounting with a proven employment track record in a similar industry.
5. Solar Project Developer
Average salary: $84,130
This is another category with a lot of growth potential as there are growing numbers of small and large solar energy projects not only in the US but all over the world. Every project requires careful planning for the purpose of obtaining the necessary permits and grid connections.
Solar project developers are also responsible for dealing with engineers, financial analysts, and lawyers to ensure the success of each project.
6. Solar Power Plant Operator
Average salary: $83,173
Many people think that solar renewable energy installations run on auto-pilot once they start production.
But every larger solar project requires at least one, and in many cases many, operators. This position will need some form of mechanical and/or electrical background and you must be prepared to get your hands dirty.
7. Solar Project Manager
Average salary: $83,134
Every solar installation requires a project manager and/or construction managers, and the role involves planning schedules and budgets and aligning team members so they can do the right work at the right time. 
For this position, you’ll need a bachelor's degree or higher in a business-related field and working experience managing industrial or construction projects.
8. Renewable Energy Consultant
Average salary: $82,450
This is one of the more specialized careers, and current data suggests there is a significant uptrend in job growth. The role involves directly dealing with new and existing clients to advise them on the most effective energy solutions and possible upgrades.
Jobs in this area often look for applicants with a degree in renewable energy management because the expertise are so different from all other energy sectors.
9. Scientific Researcher
Average salary: $77,173
These jobs are available in private research companies as well as many universities where many physicists and those from a chemical engineering background have the most to offer. The solar sector especially has seen increasing demands for scientists to develop more efficient EV cells.
In terms of education you’ll likely need a master’s degree, but many companies also search for Ph.D. students to join their teams.
10. Industrial Engineer
Average salary: $77,130
Projects in the renewable energy industry are growing in size, and many of them reach industrial scales.
This means that applicants with degrees in industrial engineering as well as experience in large oil and gas processing plants have excellent opportunities in the renewables sector.
11. Solar Energy Software Developer
Average salary: $72,976
Solar energy production is heavily reliant on software to constantly measure and fine-tune the operation of equipment.
Software engineers with experience in industrial systems development can often do particularly well in such careers, and the salaries are highly competitive as well. If you have a bachelor's in a computer science discipline, then you could be looking at a great career move.
Clean Jobs America estimated that more than 2.5 million people in the U.S. work in clean energy jobs. Energy efficiency accounted for the most jobs in that estimate, with renewable energy generation coming in as the second top employer. Solar energy workers make a large portion of current career pathways in renewable energy, but don’t think the possibilities stop there; more green energy jobs are coming.
Avery Phillips, Writer at Renewable Energy World
12. Solar Engineer
Average salary: $72,323
Job growth for solar engineers has remained high as electric grid operators require increasing support to make sure that renewable energy sources efficiently integrate.
Job seekers with degrees in electrical and electronic engineering often jump to the top of the list, and many employers have large backlogs of projects that require this skill set.
13. Solar Energy Technician
Average salary: $72,000
Everything from solar panels in private homes to large scale solar power plants require a lot of regular maintenance work.
Applicants with work experience in electrical appliances, HVAC, central heating, and solar panel installation will find more than enough opportunities to offer their services.
It’s also possibly one of the highest paying jobs that doesn’t necessarily require a degree.
Average salary: $70,195
The oil and gas industry has been a large employer for chemists whose skills contribute to the development and production of specialty fuels and lubricants.
However, the alternative and renewable energy sectors require the exact same skills to develop new biofuels.
In terms of education, applicants will likely need a master’s degree in chemistry, even for an entry-level position.
15. Wind Turbine Service Technician
Average salary: $54,370
With growing numbers of wind turbine installations, it’s no surprise that renewable energy companies expect an almost 100% growth for service technicians.
This job requires skilled workers with a background in construction, welding, and electrical installations to install new wind farms as well as service existing ones.
16. Sales Representative
Average salary: $53,804
What surprises most people is how technical a sales job in the renewable energy sector is.
Most employers don’t just look for sales skills, but also the ability to assess existing equipment, fully analyze customers’ requirements, and become the link between the customer, installer, and utility companies.
Proven sales skills in highly technical equipment is a must for this job.
17. Environmental Engineering Technician
Average salary: $50,560
As the energy industry is still transforming, there is a high demand for environmental technicians that closely work with engineers to assess the impacts of new energy facilities. 
The largest jobs growth in this sector has come from geothermal and hydro energy plants like dams.
Here's a video that goes into more detail on what an environmental engineering technician does.
18. Service Unit Operator
Average salary: $47,860
While the oil and mining sectors have laid off a lot of construction equipment operators, many of those people have been able to take advantage of significant job growth in the renewable sector.
Experience in the oil and mining sectors can be a big plus and an opportunity to put your skills to work in safer and eco-friendly services.
19. Environmental Science And Protection Technician
Average salary: $46,170
These jobs involve both field and laboratory tasks to ensure that renewable installations and energy producing facilities don’t cause unintended damage to the environment.
You would also be involved in monitoring all forms of pollution to assess the impact on the health of workers and the general population. This is probably one of the most fulfilling renewable energy jobs you can every have.
A degree in environmental engineering is the most common minimum educational requirement.
20. Solar PV Installer
Average salary: $42,680
More folks are switching to renewable energy in their homes, and one of the most effective solutions are solar panels.
Installing these panels and integrating them with batteries in private and commercial buildings is a highly technical job. A background in HVAC and electrical installations is required, but you’ll also need specialized training for an effective solar installation.
21. Solar Power Plant Construction Worker
Average salary: $41,940
The great thing about solar power plants is that they are popping up in all different sizes.
And whether you’re looking at a large scale operation with thousands of panels in a desert location or a small private plant for commercial or industrial building, there is no shortage of construction work. Skills in building, welding, and scaffolding are top of the list for these projects.
22. Site Assessor
Average salary: $40,000
Every renewable energy project has to start with a site assessment. This determines the suitability of different sites where solar or wind energy are most suitable.
The job involves taking local measurements over several weeks and months, assessing the types of mounting structures, and estimating the systems cost, among others.
People with construction and electrical background are often good candidates.
The fastest-growing renewable energy is solar. Some estimates see it growing by 11% per year with an expectation of solar energy becoming almost 50% of US production by 2050. This will also fuel significant job growth in this area.
Yes, renewable energy is a good career choice. There are currently thousands of open positions, and growth in this sector will remain strong as more individuals and businesses switch to renewables.
Yes, solar energy is a good career choice to make. More and more universities offer specific courses to train people in all aspects of solar power, from electrical engineers to solar energy project managers.
An energy engineer works in the research, design, and installation of energy systems and power plants. The renewable energy sector is heavily reliant on such engineers as the scale of the projects has grown significantly.
The energy career cluster is a collection of energy sector jobs that commonly work together on different energy production projects. Job growth in this cluster has been very high, especially when considering that the fossil fuel industry in the US has seen a net loss in jobs.
Whether you want to venture beyond the oil and gas industry, or you’re just planning out your college education for the first time, you simply cannot afford to ignore renewable energy job categories.
With a median pay that far exceeds the majority of other industries, it’s not only a way for students to have better chances of paying off any student debts — it’s also a way to make a difference to the planet while having job security at the same time.
Check out our Green Jobs Board to search for high-paying careers in the renewable energy industry now.
Looking for jobs by category, by city, or by state? Search for more sustainability jobs here.