The Solar Foundation’s Latest Annual Jobs Census Shows Consistent Industry Growth, Notes SEIA

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Solar Energy Industries Association® (SEIA®) today highlighted initial findings from The Solar Foundation’s (TSF) third annual National Solar Jobs Census. For it’s showing that solar energy jobs have experienced strong growth in the U.S. over the past year. I mean despite global economic challenges. The full National Solar Jobs Census 2012, with analysis of employment trends across the entire solar industry is scheduled for release on Nov. 14, 2012 by TSF. For they are a nonprofit research institution located in Washington, D.C.

Results from 2012 Census

Initial results from the 2012 census found that the solar industry now employs 119,016 Americans across all 50 states. For that’s having grown 13.2 percent over last year. Especially during difficult economic times across the nation. In 2011, the solar energy industry employed 105,145 workers. All the while 93,502 were employed by solar companies in 2010.

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Tesla solar panels on a home. Photo copyrights belong to Tesla.

Census participants named strong federal solar policy, such as the solar investment tax credit, as one of the most important factors driving growth of solar jobs over the past 12 months. Additionally, one-third of respondents cited the continued decline in solar energy prices as the primary driver of employment growth. State pro-solar policies, including renewable portfolio standards, and the popularity of new third-party system ownership models were other factors creating jobs.

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Exponential Growth

“The solar energy industry is creating jobs in America when we need them most,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA.

“This is what happens when government provides a stable policy environment – the private industry does what it does best – creates new jobs for Americans,” Resch added.

According to the 2012 census, solar job growth easily outpaced that of the overall U.S. economy. All which expanded by 2.3 percent (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics) during the same period.  In total, the U.S. today has 5,700 megawatts of installed solar energy capacity. For that’s enough to power more than 940,000 households.  The industry also expects to nearly double its growth over last year. Therefore adding 3.2 gigawatts of solar power online by the end of the year. As well as another 3.9 gigawatts during 2013.

Research Supporting Evidence All Over

The Solar Foundation and BW Research worked with and received technical assistance from Cornell University. For it used an improved version of SEIA’s National Solar Database. As well as additional data sources to refine the methods. All used in the census and to reach more employers.

As a result, the previously reported solar employment figure for 2011 was revised upwards. That’s from 100,237 to 105,145.

As well as in past years, the survey examined employment along the solar value chain. For that’s including installation, wholesale trade and manufacturing. Also utilities and all other fields and includes growth rates. Also job numbers for 31 separate occupations. The figures in the report were also derived from data collected from more than 1,000 solar company survey respondents. All thereby yielding a low overall margin of error of +/-1.5%.

Today’s jobs numbers were a preview of the full National Solar Jobs Census 2012. All to be released on Nov. 14, 2012 by The Solar Foundation. The National Solar Jobs Census 2012 was conducted by The Solar Foundation and BW Research. Again and with technical assistance from Cornell University.

Background Materials:

  • National Solar Jobs Census 2012 Executive Summary
  • U.S. Solar Jobs Census Finds Unemployment Soars as U.S. Economy Lags (Oct. 17, 2011)

– SEIA Statement on 2010 Solar Jobs Census (Oct. 13, 2010)

– SEIA/GTM Research Q2 SMI report on industry growth (Sept. 10, 2012)

– See real people in real solar jobs

Sources: Solar Energy Industries Association®  and Remy C.


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