As Oil Jobs Dry Up, Workers Turn to Solar Sector

Burgeoning solar projects offer opportunities for out-of-work rig hands, roustabouts and pipe fitters

By Lynn Cook | April 21, 2016 7:16 p.m. ET

A few years ago, Sean and Stormy Fravel were riding the oil and gas boom like so many others in West Texas. But when their jobs disappeared along with $100-a-barrel oil prices, they turned to a new type of energy occupation: solar power.

Instead of driving an 18-wheeler to haul drilling equipment in and out of the oil patch, the Fravels now install solar panel racking systems and perform quality checks on Alamo 6, a solar farm under construction in McCamey, about 300 miles northwest of San Antonio.