Survey: California boasts almost 73,000 workers in solar industry

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A state-wide survey generated by the Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) Institute has revealed that California boasts the largest advanced energy industry in the United States, including nearly 73,000 individuals employed in the solar industry.

With 431,800 jobs currently in the market, the advanced energy industry is larger than the film, television and radio markets in “The Golden State.” Advanced energy jobs in California grew by a rate of 5% last year and is expected to jump up to 17% this upcoming year.

Graham Richard, CEO of AEE and the AEE Institute, said: “California is the nation's leader in advanced energy policy, that much we already knew. Now we also know that California is on the way to half a million people employed in the advanced energy industry by next year. Advanced energy companies are not only making California's energy system better and cleaner. They are also creating jobs and contributing toward economic prosperity for the state.”

While constructing energy-efficinent buildings stands as the largest market within the advanced energy industry in California, the solar market has also seen significant growth over the last year, with workers that spend more than half of their hours on solar jumping up 16% from last year.

Howard Wenger, president of business units for solar technology provider SunPower, said: “For nearly 30 years, SunPower has been proud to call California our home, while developing innovative clean energy technologies and creating California jobs and economic opportunity. The future of the advanced energy industry in California is bright, and we look forward to continuing our work providing clean and affordable energy solutions.”

While its employment numbers might be smaller than those in the solar industry, electric vehicle and energy storage have also made their presence felt in the California advanced energy market.

Thomas Ashley, director of utility & regulatory affairs for Plugshare, said: “Electric vehicle adoption in California is well ahead of the rest of the country. That makes California an ideal place to provide app-based electric vehicle services and smart charging programs to integrate electric vehicles and the electricity grid. Our company is growing and sees significant potential.”

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