‘Once-in-a-generation opportunity’: US could create 600,000 renewables and energy storage jobs by 2030

Utility-scale PV is expected to account for most job growth in the solar industry. Image: CS Energy.

The US could create between 500,000 – 600,000 jobs across the solar, wind and battery storage sectors if it reaches 50 – 70% renewables generation by 2030, research from new trade body the American Clean Power Association suggests.

Within the solar industry, utility-scale PV will account for the majority of job growth, driven by new employment positions in areas such as construction, project development and operations, and manufacturing, according to the report prepared by BW Research Partnership. Most employment growth for distributed solar is expected be found in the project development and operations segment.

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In terms of battery storage, 42% of job-years created in the sector will be found in the project development and operations industry, followed by manufacturing and construction.

The report aims to identify the estimated job growth that would result from accelerating the rate of clean energy deployment in the US to account for 50% or 70% of electricity generation by 2030.

With the US aiming to have carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035, American Clean Power Association CEO Heather Zichal said one of the main challenges to meeting the Biden Administration’s clean energy goals will be getting enough people trained and added to the workforce as quickly as possible.

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for massive job creation, with high demand for a diversity of roles in manufacturing, construction, project development and operations,” she said.

According to the report, in the last quarter of 2020, there were more than 415,000 solar, wind and battery storage workers across the US, with over 231,000 of these jobs found in the solar sector.

Solar jobs are said to be highly concentrated in California, where 36% of all US solar employment was found at the end of 2020. The remaining top states with solar jobs include Massachusetts, New York, Texas and Florida.

While California accounts for the largest total amount of the total 66,749 battery storage jobs, on a per capita basis, Nevada, Vermont, Massachusetts and Idaho are said to have more storage positions.

With renewables sector employment impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, recent research found that 2020 was the first year the US clean energy industry saw a decline in jobs compared to the previous year.  

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