Solar industry employment grows dramatically in 2014

Solar industry employment has grown by 86% in the past five years, resulting in nearly 80,000 domestic “living-wage jobs,” according to a report issued Jan. 15, by The Solar Foundation.

The foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census 2014 is the fifth annual update of current employment, trends, and projected growth in the U.S. solar industry.

As of November 2014, the solar industry employs 173,807 solar workers, representing a growth rate of 21.8% since November 2013.

Since Census 2013, U.S. businesses added more than two million jobs, a growth rate of 1.1%, meaning employment in the solar industry grew nearly 20 times faster than employment in the overall economy. Over the next 12 months, employers surveyed expect to see total employment in the solar industry increase by 20.9% to 210,060 solar workers, according to the report.

“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. “The solar sector has grown an extraordinary 86 percent in the last four years, adding approximately 81,000 jobs.”

This year’s Census found that the industry continues to exceed growth expectations, adding workers at a rate nearly 20 times faster than the overall economy and accounting for 1.3% of all jobs created in the United States over the past year.

The census indicates that the installation sector, made up of workers placing solar systems in service, crew managers or foremen, system designers and engineers, and sales representatives and site assessors, remains the single largest source of domestic employment growth, more than doubling in size since 2010.

“While solar energy still represents only 1% of total US electricity generation, the solar installation sector is already larger than well-established sectors of fossil fuel generation, such as coal mining (93,185 jobs),” according to the report.

The report is available at http://thesolarfoundation.org/.

 

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.