The solar industry in the employed 208,859 people across the U.S., according to The Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census 2015, which was published today (Jan. 12).That’s more than the 187,200 people employed in the oil and gas extraction industry in 2015.
Unlike the oil and gas industry, which shed more than 13,000 jobs in 2015, the solar industry is adding jobs, according to the census. The census found that the U.S. solar workforce grew by 20.2 percent last year, adding more than 35,000 jobs. Moreover the census shows continued growth over the past half decade.
The National Solar Jobs Census 2015 was conducted by The Solar Foundation and BW Research Partnership. The researchers used data collected from more than 19,000 businesses across the U.S. They conducted 287,962 telephone calls and more than 44,220 emails.
“The solar industry has once again proven to be a powerful engine of economic growth and job creation,” said Andrea Luecke, president of The Solar Foundation. “Employment in solar has grown an extraordinary 123 percent since 2010, adding approximately 115,000 well-paying jobs. Our Census findings show that one out of every 83 new jobs created in the U.S. over the last 12 months was in the solar industry—1.2 percent of all new jobs.” Solar’s employment rate also grew nearly 12 times faster than the 1.7 percent national employment growth rate during the same period.
“Americans want good-paying jobs, and solar jobs are growing 12 times faster than the rest of the economy,” said former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm. “Our citizens are making and installing those solar panels, and with the right policies, the U.S. can create hundreds of thousands more solar jobs here at home. What more needs to be said?”
“The U.S. solar power industry continues to grow and create jobs, providing further evidence that promoting economic growth and fighting climate change can go hand-in-hand. The Solar Jobs Census helps fuel this progress by offering policymakers and investors the clean energy data they need to make informed decisions,” said Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City and United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy for Cities & Climate Change.
Looking ahead, the solar industry is expected to add even more jobs in 2016, according to the census. In all, respondents anticipated hiring more than 30,000 jobs in 2016. That would be roughly 14.7 percent growth in 2016.Tweet