02 November 2012
The Solar Foundation (TSF), a nonprofit solar education and research organization, will announce that its third annual National Solar Jobs Census found that the US solar industry employs 119,016 Americans, a figure that represents the addition of 13,872 workers and a 13.2% employment growth rate over the previous year.
Due to improvements to the employer database, TSF revised its 2011 total jobs number from 100,237 to 105,145.
“During the past several years, the solar industry has grown at significantly higher rates than most other industries, making it one of the foremost creators of new jobs in the United States,” said Andrea Luecke, TSF Executive Director. “In the past year alone, solar jobs grew at a rate of eight times more than the overall economy. What we’ve found is that the majority of these are highly skilled jobs, such as installers and sales, which cannot be exported.”
The National Solar Jobs Census 2012 measured employment growth in the solar industry between September 2011 and September 2012. During this same period, employment in the overall economy grew at a rate of 1.6. Nearly one third of employers who responded to the survey cited the continued decline in component prices as the primary driver of employment growth. State legislation enacting Renewable Portfolio Standards or authorizing third-party system ownership and federal tax incentives were other leading drivers of growth.
The Solar Foundation and BW Research used an improved version of the Solar Energy Industries Association’s National Solar Database to refine the methods used in the census and reach more employers. As a result, the solar employment figure for 2011 was revised up from 100,237 to 105,145. As in previous years, the survey examined employment along the solar value chain, including installation, wholesale trade, manufacturing, utilities and all other fields and includes growth rates and job numbers for 31 separate occupations. The figures in the report were derived from data collected from more than 1,000 solar company survey respondents, yielding a low overall margin of error of +/-1.5%. The National Solar Jobs Census 2012 was conducted by The Solar Foundation and BW Research with technical assistance from Cornell University.