We reported last week that clean energy jobs have fallen off a cliff, and now the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) tells us solar specifically is nearing 2014 employment levels. This is an expected workforce of 188,000 people as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, compared to the 302,000 the trade group was projecting prior to the pandemic. That’s 114,000 fewer workers expected by June 2020.
This is not unique in the shutdown of course, as the U.S. government reported another 3 million unemployment claims last week. But, this also means the solar industry is now losing jobs at a faster rate than the U.S. economy.
- This is a 38% drop in solar jobs compared to previous estimates for June.
- The drop coincides with a 37% decrease in expected Q2 solar installations from pre-COVID forecasts, as the United States is only on track to install 3 gigawatts (GW) of new capacity in Q2 2020.
“Thousands of solar workers are being laid off each week, but with swift action from Congress, we know that solar can be a crucial part of our economic recovery,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of SEIA. “With a few simple changes, Congress has an opportunity to save solar jobs, rebuild our economy and advance clean energy even as policy makers address this very real public health crisis.”
All 50 states show solar jobs losses, with 36 states suffering job losses above 30%. Seven states and Washington, DC— including large solar states like New York and New Jersey— have seen solar job losses exceed 60%.
— Solar Builder magazine