In its second annual review of the US solar workforce, The Solar Foundation’s “National Solar Jobs Census 2011: A Review of the US Solar Workforce” concluded that the over 100,000 Americans are gainfully employed in the solar industry. Moreover, the organization found that solar employers are looking to increase the number of solar workers by 24%, nearly 24,000 jobs, by August 2012.
“The solar industry has grown into a major economic force with more than 100,000 employees in the United States,” said Andrea Luecke, executive director of The Solar Foundation. “We expect even greater growth in the foreseeable future. But policymakers, workforce training providers, and the industry must work together to continue creating good jobs for skilled workers.”
As of August 2011, The Solar Foundation classified more than 17,198 solar employments ties and 100,237 solar jobs in the 50 US states. The data confirmed a 6.8% growth rate for jobs in the solar industry compared to the 2% net job loss in the fossil fuel power generation sector.
California was the leader in solar employment with 25,575 workers in the solar industry identified. The rest of the top ten states include Colorado, Arizona, Pennsylvania, New York, Florida, Texas, Oregon, New Jersey and Massachusetts. The organization noted that Colorado, Arizona, Oregon, New Jersey and Massachusetts presented the strongest growth rates from August 2010.
“These survey responses merely reflect employers’ best estimates at expected new hiring, but it demonstrates a clear growth pattern for the industry and tremendous optimism by employers in the industry,” said Luecke. “Employers expressed similar optimism last year, but failed to meet their hiring expectations because of stalled legislative initiatives and continued policy uncertainty.”
The Solar Foundation’s survey looked at employment throughout the solar value chain and examined dated from over 2,100 solar company survey respondents. The census was conducted through a partnership between The Solar Foundation, BW Research Partnership’s Green LMI Consulting division and technical assistance from Cornell University.