Solar industry boom means hefty job growth

It does not take long to find a news story about the growth spurt solar power is enjoying, driven as it is by the increasing popularity of rooftop solar and other installations, as well as overall expectations among consumers and regulators for more renewable, sustainable energy. A jobs census report from The Solar Foundation (TSF) confirms that the industry employed 173,807 Americans in 2014, an increase in excess of more than 31,000 jobs over last year.

Credit: Robert Churchill

“The solar sector has grown an extraordinary 86 percent in the last four years, adding approximately 81,000 jobs. Our Census findings show that one out of every 78 new jobs created in the U.S. over the last 12 months was created by the solar industry — nearly 1.3 percent of all jobs,” said Andrea Luecke, president and executive director for TSF, in a statement. “It also shows for the fifth consecutive year, the solar industry is attracting highly skilled, well-paid professionals.”

The fifth yearly National Solar Jobs Census also said employment in the industry has grown almost 20 times more quickly than the national average employment growth rate between November 2013 and the end of 2014.

UPI reported that Solar City alone added 4,000 jobs in 2014. Elon Musk, CEO of electric car company Tesla and an entrepreneur, is chairman of Solar City.

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, solar installations grew 41 percent between the third quarter of 2013 and the third quarter of 2014.

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