Solar Energy: Leading the Way in Job Creation

Posted by Amy Guinan

Feb 25, 2015 8:00:00 AM

Jobs are blazing bright in solar: the industry added jobs at a rate nearly 20 times faster than the national average in 2014 according to a recent report released by The Solar Foundation.

"Third-party financing that allows homeowners to lease solar systems, a stabilizing manufacturing sector and utility-scale solar developers scrambling to finish projects before the federal investment tax credit drops from 30 percent to 10 percent on Jan. 1, 2017 has helped drive growth," said Andrea Luecke, president and executive director of The Solar Foundation.

Highlights of the Solar Foundation report include:

  • More than 31,000 new solar jobs were created in the U.S. in 2014 bringing the total to 173,807
  • This is the second consecutive year that solar jobs have increased by at least 20 percent.
  • There are now a total of 173,807 people in the U.S. with jobs related to solar power, a number that’s increased by 87 percent over the last five years.
  • Solar added 50 percent more jobs in 2014 than the oil and gas pipeline construction industry (10,529) and the crude petroleum and natural gas extraction industry (8,688) did combined, according to the Solar Foundation.
  • Diversity is expanding: in the solar field about twenty-two percent of solar workers in 2014 were female, up from about 19 percent in 2013. About 16 percent were Hispanic and about 6 percent were African-American.

Jobs in solar installation in California, solar installation in Massachusetts,and solar installation in New York have seen the most growth, but the report highlighted a few other states, such as Georgia, Indiana, Virginia, and Tennessee, where solar job growth is surging in ways never seen before.

As the economic benefits are realized, solar prices drop, and the solar field continues to diversify, we expect 2015 to be an equally impressive year for solar job growth. 

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