Solar energy jobs jump by 25 per cent in 2016

One of out every fifty new jobs in the US was in the solar industry, representing a 25 per cent rise over 2015. Job growth in the US solar industry far outpaces the overall US economy.

The latest figures on solar employment in the US are in. According to the Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census 2016, the solar workforce grew by an impressive 25 per cent over 2015, adding 51,000 new jobs for a total of 260,077 workers in the US solar industry.

This is the largest annual growth percentage since the Solar Foundation, a non-profit solar advocacy group, released its first National Solar Jobs Census in 2010.

The figure accounts for one out of every fifty new jobs created in the US, which means that employment grown in the solar industry in 2016 outpaced the overall US economy by 17 times.

The number of solar jobs increased in 44 of the 50 states in 2016, making solar industry growth a nationwide phenomenon. The state with the highest total number of solar jobs in 2016 was California, followed by Massachusetts, Texas, Nevada, and Florida.

“With a near tripling of solar jobs since 2010, the solar industry is an American success story that has created hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs,” said Andrea Luecke, President and Executive Director of The Solar Foundation.

Decreasing solar panel costs and rising consumer demand for solar installations were largely behind the unprecedented employment growth.

Solar job growth in 2016 took place in all job sectors, including a 26 per cent increase in manufacturing jobs and a 14 per cent increase in installation jobs. Project development jobs grew by 53 per cent, while sales and distribution jobs grew by 26 per cent.

Despite the sunny figures for 2016, total solar industry employment is expected to increase by only 10 per cent over the next 12 months, reported Renewable Energy Magazine.

Actual growth will depend largely on the course set by the Trump Administration regarding the Clean Power Plan, trade with China and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).


Image credit: Centre for Alternative Technology, flickr/Creative Commons

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