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Published on September 22nd, 2011 | by Andrew


US Solar Industry Adds Jobs at 6.8% Pace

September 22nd, 2011 by  

The US solar industry has created 6,735 new jobs across the country since August, 2010, a 6.8% growth rate, bringing to 100,237 the number of Americans working in the industry, according to a preview of The Solar Foundation’s “National Solar Jobs Census.” The 6.8% growth rate in US solar industry jobs compares to a nationwide job growth rate of 0.7% from August 2010-August 2011 as reported by the Dept. of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, and a 2% decline in jobs in fossil fuel electric generation.

“The U.S. solar industry is creating jobs at a far greater pace than the economy as a whole,” said Andrea Luecke, executive director of The Solar Foundation. “The National Solar Jobs Census series provides a definitive measure of the U.S. solar workforce and its growth over time. It proves where smart solar energy policies are having the most impact both in terms of states and across the vast solar supply chain.”

“This is a sign of a thriving industry – due to the demand for lower cost, clean electricity that creates value in America,” added Danny Kennedy, president of Sungevity, an installer of residential solar power systems and member of The Solar Foundation’s Board of Directors.

The Solar Foundation’s full solar industry jobs census report will be released in Dallas October 17. It examines employment across the industry value chain, including installation, wholesale trade, manufacturing and utilities, among others. The full census reports employment numbers for a total of 31 separate occupations overall and examines US solar industry employment at the state level.

Green LMI joined with The Solar Foundation to produce the report, while Cornell University provided technical assistance.

“By using high-quality research methodology, we can ensure that these numbers are as accurate as possible,” explained John Bunge, associate professor in the Department of Statistical Science at Cornell University’s School of Industrial Labor Relations. “Using both primary and secondary data sources, along with careful statistical analysis, gives us high confidence in the results.”

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About the Author

I've been reporting and writing on a wide range of topics at the nexus of economics, technology, ecology/environment and society for some five years now. Whether in Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Americas, Africa or the Middle East, issues related to these broad topical areas pose tremendous opportunities, as well as challenges, and define the quality of our lives, as well as our relationship to the natural environment.

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  • Matthew Peffly

    Lets see 6.8% job green growth verse 2.0% fossil fuel job lose.
    Math looks simple drop the 4billion in special tax breaks the US goverment gives to oil each year. And use that to put PV panels on all the flat roof of goverment buildings. Say the panels have to have a certain portion of US content. The installers are all local. If you run out of goverment building roof top, then start adding them to public schools. Include energy eff projects on the fed buildings and schools.

    Cost neutral, but creates jobs! Who could not support that?

    Yes I would be more agressive than that, would add a green house gas emitters tax. But that will not fly in todays DC environemnt.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, love it. 😀 turning this into a quick post.

  • John Johnleejr Lee13

    The industry needs to help themselves and the government to make solar affordable for the homeowner. The payoff is just too far out. Even people committed to Green tend to use other types of enrgy once they see that the return is so far off.

    • Mattschattner

      I agree with you in what you said about the governments roll in helping solar develop. I disagree with the statement that it takes too long to pay back. When you buy a car for $40,000, it never pays you back. The rate of return on money invested is usually 15-30%, WAY higher than any stock market investement or other investment return rate is. Even if it took 15 years to pay back, it is worth it to insulate yourself from utility rate hikes.

      • Anonymous

        Thank you, love it. 😀 turning this into a quick post.

  • Eltorovive

    Solar is here to stay and will be a part of our energy future without doubt.
    The only problem with solar, besides the horrific Chinese industrial pollution, is the spoiling of substantial areas in nature and then require power lines to the cities.
    All solar, just like water, food, and jobs, should be local. We already have millions of square feet of commercial & residential roof space not to mention all the parking lots and freeway space.
    Don’t destroy beautiful deserts too, keep power generation local!

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