The Solar Jobs Census

It’s the Tale of Two Solar Industries: solar manufacturers are suffering. Companies that have pioneered new ways to finance residential solar installations, including SolarCity, SunRun and Sungevity, are growing like crazy.

On Friday, the Solar Foundation, a nonprofit solar education and research organization, reported that 119,016 Americans are now employed by the solar industry, up 13,872 from the previous year. The release, which coincides with the monthly jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, was designed to stress solar’s accomplishments at creating jobs in a still fragile economy.

As a reader noted, for context: The civilian labor force is about 155 million.

By comparison, an estimated 75,000 Americans are employed in the wind industry and related fields, according to AWEA, the American Wind Energy Association. If Congress allows the production tax credit for wind to expire as scheduled Dec. 31, Navigant Consulting warns that half, or 37,000, current wind jobs will be lost.

The Solar Jobs Census is based on a survey of more than 1,000 solar companies and analyzes employment along the solar supply chain, including 31 occupations ranging from manufacturing to installation.

“Our census findings indicate that these new jobs are highly skilled in nature, including solar installation, sales, marketing and software development,” said Andrea Luecke, TSF Executive Director, in a statement. “These new solar industry jobs are sustainable, cannot be outsourced and play a critical role in our country’s economic recovery.”

The National Solar Jobs Census 2012 measured employment growth in the solar industry between September 2011 and September 2012.

The full report will be presented at the Clean Energy Workforce Education Conference in Albany, NY on November 14th. The National Solar Jobs Census 2012 was conducted by The Solar Foundation and BW Research with technical assistance from Cornell University. You can read more here: http://thesolarfoundation.org/research/national-solar-jobs- census-2012

Dana Hull Dana Hull (244 Posts)

Dana Hull covers clean technology and energy policy for the San Jose Mercury News. She often writes about electric vehicles, the smart grid, the solar industry and California energy policy, from RPS goals to Gov. Jerry Brown's big dreams for distributed generation.