The job market is often a good indication of certain technologies or products that are on their way to rapid expansion. One such example is the solar industry, which has seen an immense amount of growth in just the last handful of years.

According to an International Renewable Energy Agency report based on 2016 data, employment in the solar industry has expanded 17 times faster than the total US economy, bringing the total number of people currently employed by the solar industry above a quarter of a million. Currently, there are two hundred and fifty thousand jobs in the market, up 24% from the previous year. With the tax incentives the federal government has been offering compounded with the lower costs of solar panels and all of its ancillary technology, there’s never been a better time to buy.

Solar jobs tend to include manufacturing, project development, sales, and research-and-development. Once a solar system is installed, harvesting the sun’s rays is free to the consumer, therefore the costs of labor and materials are the cash cows of the solar industry.

As the prices of materials decrease, jobs in solar have only expanded for blue-collar workers. The solar labor force has also become a more diverse place for women at 28% in 2016, up from 19% in 2013. As a result there are now more women that have jobs in solar than in the conventional energy industry.

With numbers like these, isn’t it time to make the next step and install a solar energy system onto your home or business? The solar industry is poised for exponential growth, and getting in on the ground floor of this amazing technology will pay off before you know it.