New data shows solar employment increased by a historic 25 percent nationwide from 2015 to 2016, for a total of 260,077 solar workers, according to The Solar Foundation. This growth occurred across all regions of the country — the number of solar jobs increased in 44 of the 50 states from 2015 to 2016. In 21 of the 50 states, solar jobs grew by 50 percent or more.
But you maybe already knew that 50,000-ft view. What’s happening in your markets? For those answers, you’ll want to check out this handy new Solar Jobs map, which shows metropolitan areas across the nation also saw historic solar jobs growth from 2015 to 2016,. For example, solar jobs in the Cleveland, Ohio metropolitan area doubled, for a total of 1,632 solar workers in 2016. The number of jobs in the San Antonio, Texas metro area increased by 146 percent to 1,767 solar workers.
Jobs in the Albuquerque, New Mexico metro area increased 78 percent to 1,771 solar workers. Jobs in Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida increased 40 percent to 1,215 solar workers. The Atlanta, Georgia metro area had 2,406 solar workers, a 15 percent increase from 2015; and jobs in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin metro area increased 20 percent to 1,033 solar workers.
“The solar industry is generating well-paying jobs everywhere from Detroit to Miami to Salt Lake City, and in states from Ohio to Texas to South Carolina,” said Andrea Luecke, President and Executive Director of The Solar Foundation. “America’s solar energy boom adds tens of billions of dollars to our economy each year, all while providing an affordable, reliable, and local energy source.”
The Solar Foundation puts the industry’s total economic impact at $154 billion.
Job criteria defined
Since 2010, The Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census has defined solar workers as those who spend at least 50 percent of their time on solar-related work. The Solar Foundation has consistently found that approximately 90 percent of these workers spend 100 percent of their time on solar-related work. The Solar Jobs Census 2016 was part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER) data collection effort that included more than 500,000 telephone calls and over 60,000 emails to energy establishments in the U.S. between October and November 2016. This resulted in a total of 3,888 full completions for establishments involved in solar activity in the United States.
— Solar Builder magazine