The Solar Foundation has released the results of a long-term mission to decipher solar employment trends within the United States at the state level, highlighting promising numbers within the market as a whole.
The latest edition of the 'National Solar Jobs Census' revealed that the US solar industry currently employs 173,807 workers – signalling a 21.8% growth from the previous year; 2014 is now the second consecutive year in which employment in the solar market increased by 20% or more.
California continues to lead all states in terms of solar employees with 54,690 workers – a 15.8% growth from 2013. While it might not wow in terms of state size, Massachusetts unseated Arizona to boast the second-most solar employees with a total of 9,400 – an increase of 46.9%.
According to findings from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research, the US possesses an estimated 20GW of installed PV capacity – equaling out to enough energy to power about 4,000,000 households in the country annually. That sum would effectively mean that every house in a state the size of New Jersey or Massachusetts could be powered – with 20GW in the pipeline for 2015-16.
Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA, said: “Solar energy continues to be one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States. The latest state-by-state breakdown of solar jobs nationwide not only shows impressive growth by our industry – but it also reveals some very encouraging trends. Big gains in employment are no longer limited to solar-friendly California and the sunny Southwest. Employment is also booming in East Coast states, including Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina and Maryland, while significantly growing in the southern states of Texas, Georgia and Florida.
Resch added: “From coast to coast, solar is having a huge impact on both our economy and environment. Today, the solar industry employs nearly 175,000 Americans and pumps more than US$15 billion a year into the US economy – and we’re just scratching the surface of our enormous potential.”
In addition, PV energy helped cut down CO2 emissions by approximately 20,000,000 metric tonnes in 2014 – factoring out to the equivalent of removing 4,000,000 cars off US highways.