The Census found that the US solar industry employed 173,807 Americans in 2014, a figure that includes the addition of more than 31,000 solar jobs over the previous year, representing 21.8% growth in solar industry employment since November 2013. Solar employment grew nearly 20 times faster than the national average employment growth rate of 1.1% in the same period.
The solar installation sector is already larger than well-established sectors of fossil fuel generation, such as coal mining (93,185 jobs). The solar installation sector added nearly 50% more jobs in 2014 than the total created by both the oil and gas pipeline construction industry (10,529), and the crude petroleum and natural gas extraction industry (8,688). Solar employers are also optimistic about 2015, expecting to add another 36,000 jobs over the coming year.
Corporate leaders heralded The Solar Foundation’s Census findings, noting the exceptional double bottom line return on investment that solar deployment has provided them.
The National Solar Jobs Census 2014 was conducted by The Solar Foundation and BW Research Partnership with support from The George Washington University. The report, derived from data collected from more than 7,600 US businesses, measured employment growth in the solar industry between November 2013 and November 2014. The margin of error of this data set is +/-2.03%, significantly lower than any similar national industry study.
State-by-state jobs numbers, including a more detailed analysis of the Arizona, California, Georgia, Maryland, New York and Texas solar markets, as well as The Solar Foundation’s updated State Solar Jobs Map, will be released in mid-February.