U.S. solar workforce grew by more than 20% for the third consecutive year

U.S. solar workforce grew by more than 20% for the third consecutive year

More than 35,000 solar jobs added in 2015, bringing U.S. solar workforce total to nearly 209,000; an increase of 123% since 2010.

The Solar Foundation (Tsf), an independent nonprofit solar research and education organization, today released its sixth annual National Solar Jobs Census. The new Census 2015 found that the U.S. solar industry employed 208,859 Americans in 2015, a figure that includes the addition of 35,052 solar workers over the previous year, representing 20.2 percent growth in solar industry employment in the 12 months preceding November 2015. Solar employment grew nearly 12 times faster than the national employment growth rate of 1.7 percent during the same period.

“The solar industry has once again proven to be a powerful engine of economic growth and job creation,” said Andrea Luecke, President and Executive Director of The Solar Foundation. “Employment in solar has grown an extraordinary 123 percent since 2010, adding approximately 115,000 well-paying jobs. Our Census findings show that one out of every 83 new jobs created in the U.S. over the last 12 months was in the solar industry – 1.2% of all new jobs. The Solar Foundation is proud to play a vital role in delivering comprehensive solar jobs information to key decision makers about the technology’s tremendous contributions to the U.S. economy.”

The solar workforce is larger than some well-established fossil fuel generation sectors, such as the oil and gas extraction industry, which shed 13,800 jobs in 2015 and now employs 187,200 people. The oil and gas pipeline construction industry, which employs 129,500 workers, lost 9,500 jobs (U.S. BLS) during the same period. The solar industry is already three times larger than the coal-mining industry, which employs 67,929 people (JobsEQ 2015Q3). Solar employers surveyed expect to add more than 30,000 jobs over the next 12 months. The expected increase of 14.7% would bring the count of U.S. solar workers to 239,625 by the end of 2016.

The U.S. solar power industry continues to grow and create jobs, providing further evidence that promoting economic growth and fighting climate change can go hand-in-hand. The Solar Jobs Census helps fuel this progress by offering policymakers and investors the clean energy data they need to make informed decisions,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg L.P., philanthropist, United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Cities & Climate Change, and three-term Mayor of New York City.

“The continued growth and vitality of the solar industry is welcome news, especially after world leaders convened in Paris and signed an historic agreement recognizing the importance of climate change and of renewable energy as a way to help address it,” said Rick Needham, Director, Energy and Sustainability at Google. “As the largest corporate procurer of renewable power in the world and one of the largest corporate investors in both utility scale and residential solar, we’re doing our part to support solar not only because it provides clean, renewable power but also because it makes great business sense. And with the launch and recent expansion of our Project Sunroof, we’re helping our users explore whether solar makes sense for them and provides a pathway for cleaner power, economic savings, and more jobs.”

 

Source: Solar Foundation

Date: January 2016

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