Former NY mayor Bloomberg hails job creation successes of solar industry

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email

The number of people employed by the US solar industry grew more than 20 times faster than the national average employment growth rate in a year, according to an annual report produced by the Solar Foundation.

The foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census also said that in the surveyed period – between November 2013 and November 2014  the US solar industry added 21.8% more jobs. The report’s findings were announced on Thursday.

Over that period, the industry added 31,000 new workers meaning that as of two months ago, 173,807 Americans were employed in solar. In other words, while the national average remained at an almost flat 1.1% growth in the year, it was outpaced by upward trends in solar employment by 20.7%.

Philip Jordan, vice president at BW Research Partnership, which partnered with the Solar Foundation on putting together the census, now in its fifth year, said “continued high wages among solar installers” were of particular interest, with the report overall showing “aggressive hiring and clear optimism among US solar companies”.

Perhaps tellingly, there are now more frontline installer jobs in the US than there are its equivalents in the coal mining industry, which employs 93,185 people. Oil and gas pipeline construction is also far outstripped, with just over 10,500 jobs, while crude petroleum and natural gas extraction hire just 8,688 workers.

Not only has solar raced into the lead but this lead may well be extended in future – the employers surveyed expect to hire 36,000 more people in the next year, the report says.

Adding to a flood of seemingly positive findings, Jordan said solar companies are increasingly becoming more diverse workplaces than their counterparts in the fossil fuel and construction industries.

“…We found that the installation sector is generally more diverse than other energy sectors, hiring African-Americans and Latinos at a faster rate than the oil, gas, coal and construction sectors.”

BW Research Partnership and Solar Foundation, with assistance from George Washington University, surveyed 7,600 companies. Solar Foundation president and executive director Andrea Luecke hailed the industry’s recent success in hiring “highly-skilled, well-paid professionals”. Luecke said the report proved solar’s position as “a powerful engine of economic growth and job creation”.

“The solar industry has once again proven to be a powerful engine of economic growth and job creation. The solar sector has grown an extraordinary 86% in the last four years, adding approximately 81,000 jobs,” Luecke said.

“Our census findings show that one out of every 78 new jobs created in the US over the past 12 months was created by the solar industry – nearly 1.3% of all jobs. It also shows for the fifth consecutive year, the solar industry is attracting highly-skilled, well-paid professionals. That growth is putting people back to work and strengthening our nation’s economy.”

Public figures and industry names lined up to applaud the report’s conclusions. Among them was SolarCity’s chief executive officer Lyndon Rive who referred to his company’s 4,000 new hires in 2014, while IKEA’s chief financial officer Rob Olson said he was thrilled that the furniture company’s investment in solar “helps contribute to a growing clean tech economy – and accelerate[s] the creation of new solar jobs throughout the country”.

Former mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg also commented on the news and hailed it as a triumph for the emerging green economy.

“The tremendous growth in the solar industry last year, including job growth that is outpacing the national average, is further evidence that we can clean our air and cut climate pollution while also growing the economy,” he said.

“The more data we have about the renewable energy industry, the better positioned policymakers and investors will be to make informed decisions. The Solar Jobs Census has the potential to help make that possible.”

The foundation is expected to launch a more detailed state-by-state census in mid-February. Incidentally an Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) Institute report on California issued in December found that the western state alone employed 73,000 workers in solar.

26 January 2022
Join this free webinar for our analysis of the growth of N-Type technology including; new capacity expansions and production output. We'll also be looking at the global manufacturing footprint with forecasts on how much product will be made outside of China this year and which companies are driving technology change across the crystalline silicon value chain.
23 February 2022
Held annually since 2016, the Energy Storage Summit Europe is the place to be for senior stakeholders in the European storage industry. Designed to accelerate deployment of storage, we examine evolving chemistries, business models, project design, revenue stacks and use cases for storage. The 2022 edition will include exclusive content around longer duration solutions, energy strategies for wide-scale deployment of EVs and "EnTech", the event which sits at the intersection of digitisation, decentralisation and decarbonation of the power system. Come to meet TSOs, DSOs, Utilities, Developers, Investors and Lenders and leave with new contacts, partners and a wealth of information.
7 March 2022
Take your chance to join the most powerful platform in the MENA region. Middle East Energy (MEE), Intersolar, and ees, the leading energy exhibitions are joining hands to co-deliver an outstanding renewables and energy storage event at Middle East Energy 2021. Renewables and energy storage at MEE is the largest gathering of solar and renewable energy industry professionals in the Middle East & Africa, offering the most effective trade focused platform to international manufacturers and distributors looking to meet regional buyers.
8 March 2022
As Solar Finance & Investment enters its ninth year, we sit on the cusp of a new power market with solar at its heart. The 2022 edition of the event will build on our years of expertise and relationships to bring investors and lenders together with top developers. Connect with leaders in the field and use exclusive insights to drive investment and development decisions for the future. Meet new and existing project partners at the largest gathering of European solar investors and lenders.
23 March 2022
When it comes to storage, the US market exceeded a gigawatt of advanced energy storage installations (weighted towards lithium ion) at 1.46 GW, more than the previous six years in total! An exponential growth rate could see the market hit 7.5 GW p.a. by 2025. The summit will provide a wealth of content around this vital piece in the US power puzzle, with sessions dedicated to explore how companies are making money from batteries, the latest chemistries and their applications as they apply to different use-cases. We ask how investors can match ESG criteria to batteries and we will bring case studies of successful deployment and project execution onto the stage to examine how you can ensure your own projects are successful.
29 March 2022
Now in its 10th sell-out year, Large Scale Solar returns to Lisbon in 2022. We are excited to gather together face-to-face with the European solar industry as we provide unique and exclusive access to a powerful selection of the market's key stakeholders. Join this elite summit to find out how the market is maturing, which new markets are becoming more exciting, how technology is evolving and who's driving the market forward into the 2020s. Always senior, packed with developers, EPCs, utilities and investors this is the event for companies serious about European solar PV.

Read Next

January 21, 2022
Toronto-based renewables developer Amp Energy has closed on a US$350 million credit facility to advance on a global portfolio of renewables and battery energy storage assets.
January 21, 2022
India is at risk of a supply and demand mismatch for solar equipment if domestic PV manufacturers are unable to meet the quantity and quality required by project developers, Fitch Solutions has warned.
January 21, 2022
The European Commission has launched a public consultation on solar energy on the continent as it continues preparations to publish its solar strategy later this year.
January 21, 2022
US solar installer SunPower is to be hit by a cracking issue discovered in connectors associated with equipment installed in some commercial and industrial (C&I) projects, resulting in charges of around US$31 million.
PV Tech Premium
January 21, 2022
Greece is on track to accelerate solar deployment in the coming years, with the sector boosted by rising demand for renewable offtake agreements from corporations and clean energy policies from the EU, according to the general manager of Greek industrial group Mytilineos’s renewables business.
January 20, 2022
Mississippi authorities have expanded the state’s net metering programme to improve total compensation rates for solar customers and prioritise the adoption of distributed PV for low- to moderate-income (LMI) households.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
January 26, 2022
Free Webinar
Solar Media Events
February 23, 2022
London, UK
Solar Media Events
March 8, 2022
London, UK
Solar Media Events
March 23, 2022
Austin, Texas, USA
Solar Media Events
March 29, 2022
Lisbon, Portugal