According to the latest annual National Solar Jobs Census, the U.S. solar industry employed 142,698 people in 2013 – up 20 percent, or more than 23,500 jobs, since 2012.
That’s ten times faster than the national average employment growth rate of 1.9 percent between September 2012 and November 2013.
“The solar industry’s job-creating power is clear,” said Andrea Luecke, Executive Director and President of The Solar Foundation. “The industry has grown an astounding 53 percent in the last four years alone, adding nearly 50,000 jobs.”
To paint an even more positive picture, another 22,000 jobs are anticipated in the coming year, thanks to strong demand and supportive policies.
“Tens of thousands of new living-wage jobs have been created over the past year thanks to plunging solar technology costs, increasing consumer demand, and supportive government policies,” said Amit Ronen, Director of The George Washington University Solar Institute, which supported the report, along with BW Research Partnership.
“As the nation’s fastest growing energy source, we expect the solar industry will continue to generate robust job growth for at least the next decade,” Ronen continued.
The data, collected from more than 2,080 solar firms, confirms that whilst other energy generation sectors suffered a decline in job numbers (fossil fuels dropping almost 9 percent), opportunities and wages climbed higher in solar, up to between $20 and $23.63 per hour.
“The study shows both aggressive hiring and clear optimism among US solar companies,” said Philip Jordan, Vice President at BW Research Partnership. “We also found higher than average employment of veterans in the solar industry, a sign that their high-tech skills are valued in this sector.”
Overall, the report suggests an optimistic environment for the solar industry in the United States. A state-by-state breakdown is expected in February.