143,000 U.S. Solar Workers and Counting!
Earlier this week, we hosted a webinar with the Solar Foundation to explore their 2013 National Solar Jobs census, the fourth iteration of their highly acclaimed annual report on employment trends in the U.S. solar industry.
- You can view the slides from the webinar here.
- View the Solar Foundation’s interactive job census map here.
Andrea Leucke, the Executive Director of Solar Foundation presented the findings from the 2013 jobs census, and we were again reminded that solar energy is not only providing a way to combat climate change, it is truly an economic engine in this country.
Here are some of the factoids from the webinar that are sure to impress:
- In 2013, there were roughly 143,000 solar workers in the U.S.
- What’s more, 79% of these jobs cannot be offshored. Nearly 50% of the jobs are in the installation field.
- In 2010, when the Solar Foundation completed the first jobs census, there were only 90,000 solar workers. Between 2010 and 2013 we have seen a 53% growth in solar employment!
- The growth in solar workers can be attributed to the steeply declining cost of solar that is in turn driving up demand. Solar capacity in this country has more or less doubled every year since 2005, and by 2016 there is expected to be 35 GWs of PV Solar installed in the U.S.
New in the 2013 census, the Solar Foundation also tracked jobs down to the district level in the top ten solar markets (CA, AZ, NJ, MA, NY, TX, FL, OH, CO, NC). The report shows that California remains the largest market for solar workers, with nearly 1/3 of all the solar jobs. Interestingly, the runner up state, Arizona, actually saw a decrease in jobs in 2013. This decrease can be partially attributed to the completion of the 280 MW Solana Generating Facility, which was completed in 2013, though uncertainty about the future of net metering may also be a culprit. this policy uncertainty is certainly behind the expected lower than national growth rate for 2014 (5.6% compared to the national average of 15.6%).
The Solar Foundation expects that the U.S. solar workforce will steadily grow in 2014, and that’s a good thing because we have a lot of solar to install!
Vote Solar is a non-profit grassroots organization working to fight climate change and foster economic opportunity by bringing solar energy into the mainstream.
photo: Markets Mashup.
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