The American solar workforce grew at a historic pace in 2016, a year when one out of every fifty new U.S. jobs was in the solar industry, according to the new National Solar Jobs Census 2016, the seventh annual report on solar employment issued by The Solar Foundation.
Right now, as pointed out by Lucas Mearian of Computerworld.com, solar energy is one of the three main power sources with natural gas and wind.
The National Solar Jobs Census 2016 found that solar industry employment growth outpaced the overall U.S. economy increased by over 51,000 jobs, for a total of 260,077 U.S. solar workers. Even though solar energy occupy’s 1.3 percent in American Electricity, the number of solar jobs increased in 44 of the 50 states; The states with the highest total number of solar jobs were California, Massachusetts, Texas, Nevada and Florida.
Solar job growth in 2016 took place in manufacturing companies, installation jobs, Project development jobs, and sales and distribution jobs.
“More than ever, it’s clear that solar energy is a low-cost, reliable, super-abundant American energy source that is driving economic growth, strengthening businesses, and making our cities smarter and more resilient,” said Andrea Luecke, President and Executive Director of The Solar Foundation.
“Through the continued development of solar incentive programs, Massachusetts is positioned to double the amount of solar for half the cost to ratepayers and maintain our position as one of the best states in the country for energy diversity,” said Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker.
Nine percent of solar workers nationwide are veterans, compared to seven percent in the overall U.S. workforce. Census 2016 also found that the percentage of solar workers who are women increased from 24 percent in 2015 to 28 percent in 2016, the percentage of African-American solar workers increased from 5 percent to 7 percent, and the percentage of Latino/Hispanic solar workers increased from 11 percent to 17 percent.
“It’s really a wide range of people that get hired into this industry, everybody from certified and licensed engineers to those who first learned about a solar project when we were building one in their area,” said George Hershman, Senior Vice President and General Manager at Swinerton Renewable Energy. “A great aspect of this business is that it isn’t an exclusionary trade. It’s a teachable job that can create opportunity for people and give them a skill.”
Even with a new administration in the White House, Brad Plumer of Vox.com points out that if Solar energy keeps adding jobs, “no matter what Trump does on climate policy — it’ll become tougher and tougher for him to ignore.”
The complete National Solar Jobs Census 2016 can be found at SolarJobsCensus.org.