Originally published on Sustainnovate.
By Henry Lindon
The newest Solar Jobs Census from the Solar Foundation was recently released, giving us some interesting insights into the US solar industry.
Amongst the most interesting of the report’s notes is that the solar workforce in the US grew 20% in 2015 (for the third straight year); and that the solar industry created more jobs than the oil and gas extraction + pipeline sectors combined.
Altogether, the US solar industry added jobs roughly 12 times faster than the other parts of the country’s economy added jobs, according to the report. To be more specific, the solar industry added 35,052 new jobs — bringing the total up to 208,859. This compares to the addition of 31,000 jobs in 2014, and 23,600 in 2013.
“It’s incredible,” stated SolarCity CEO and co-founder Lyndon Rive. “The industry employs over 200,000 people — more than the coal industry.”
Climate Progress provides more:
The census found that even just the US solar installation sector employed 77% more people than the coal mining industry. Installers have reported the most job growth by far, with project development, sales, and distribution also rising.
Most of these jobs (83%) were new positions, and 65% were in the installation sector. Solar ranked third behind wind and gas power capacity in 2015, with over two gigawatts being added to the grid across several states. Companies expect this trend to continue as costs keep declining — over two dollars per watt over the last 5 years.
…The census measures employment in the time period preceding November 2015, and uses company surveys, growth trends, and extrapolations similar to those used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to arrive at its totals. It includes all direct solar company jobs and some indirect solar-focused positions. This ranges from installation to sales, finance to R&D.
The findings of the report derive from “a statistically valid sampling and survey that went to nearly 400,000 establishments throughout the nation,” reportedly.