Solar Industry Generating 25% More Jobs

by Abel Hampton February 10, 2017, 1:43

The solar sector has been growing quickly in the country over the past few years, even outpacing fossil-fuels in terms of new energy generation capacity.

US solar-industry employment in 2016 grew at the fastest pace in at least seven years, with growth in all sectors including manufacturing, sales and installations, as demand for clean power swelled.

"More than ever, it's clear that solar energy is a low-priced, reliable, super-abundant American energy source that is driving economic growth, strengthening businesses, and making our cities smarter and more resilient". Nationwide, more than 51,000 solar jobs were added past year for a total of more than 260,000 people employed in the industry.

Colorado and Texas each rank in the top 10 un the nation as hubs of solar energy employment.

The annual jobs census by The Solar Foundation, a non-profit based in Washington D.C., found the solar industry employed more than 2,800 people in Wisconsin a year ago. The foundation wrote that the utility-scale market grew by more than 10GW in 2016, double the 4.26 GW added in 2015. "In order to benefit from the ITC before it was presumed to expire at the end of 2016, projects needed to be completed by the end of the year". "Unsubsidized utility-scale development costs are at parity with natural gas in many states", the Foundation says, which should keep demand for those kinds of projects strong, especially in states with renewable energy portfolio targets to hit, like in California or NY.

Andrea Luecke, the president and executive director of The Solar Foundation, attributed the growth to a "rapid decrease" in the cost of solar panels as well as "unprecedented" consumer demand for solar energy.

The National Solar Jobs Census requires that workers are employed at least 50 percent of their time in the solar industry to be counted in the statistic. The Nevada Legislature will consider legislation that could return the rooftop solar industry to Nevada, and further grow the state's clean energy industry.

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