Just as a new report was released in the U.S. declaring an increase in citizens filing for unemployment benefits, The Solar Foundation provided some light at the end of the economic tunnel with their new report, “Nation Solar Jobs Census 2010: A Review of the U.S. Solar Workforce”. The report found that not only has there been an increase in the hiring for solar jobs, but more than half of solar employers in the U.S. are planning to increase their workforce during the next year.
“This first-ever national census shows that solar jobs are on the rise and expected to grow 26 percent in the coming year,” said Andrea Luecke (pictured), acting executive director of The Solar Foundation. “By examining the data from thousands of companies along the entire supply-chain, the study shows that the solar industry is having a substantial and positive impact on the U.S. economy.”
Since this past August, the solar census found over 16,700 solar employment sites and 93,000 solar jobs in the 50 U.S. states, with an added potential to increase that number by 24,000 new jobs (a 26% increase) by August 2011.
“Among other things, this study shows that investments made through [the] Recovery Act — including the US$2.3 billion in tax credits to U.S. based clean energy manufacturing — are already generating positive results,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “The solar energy sector is an increasingly important source of good jobs for Americans. Fostering the growth of this emerging industry will help protect our environment, ensure the U.S. remains competitive in the global economy and offer great opportunities for the nation’s working families.”
The survey took into account employment in different divisions of the solar industry including installation, wholesale trade, manufacturing and utilities while also including growth rates and job numbers for 31 solar occupations from over 2,400 solar company survey respondents.
The National Solar Jobs Census was administered through a partnership between The Solar Foundation, Green LMI Consulting and technical assistance from Cornell University. Its findings were made public at the Solar Power International event, with more details available here.