Sci-tech

US Solar Industry Clamors for Workers as Employment Climbs 25%

US Solar Industry Clamors for Workers as Employment Climbs 25%

The solar industry, by all accounts, is booming, according to the new National Solar Jobs Census, an annual report released by the nonpartisan Solar Foundation.

Solar jobs increased in 44 of 50 states, including all but one of the states that voted to elect Trump.

While the solar industry's job growth topped 20 percent for the fourth straight year in 2016, NY actually lost solar energy jobs last year - a decline officials blamed on delays in launching an initiative to encourage the development of community solar projects across the state. Ahead of Florida were California, Massachusetts, Texas and Nevada. Nationwide, the industry added jobs in all sectors, including manufacturing (up 26 percent to 38,121), installation (up 14 percent to 137,133), project development jobs (up 53 percent to 34,400 jobs), and sales and distribution (up 32 percent to 32,147).

Last year's solar market performance made 2016 the fourth consecutive year that USA solar jobs grew by 20 percent or more, the report found. The Solar Foundation has consistently found that approximately 90 percent of those workers spend 100 percent of their time on solar-related work.

"If President Trump wants jobs, I hope he'll look at the American solar industry, because we're an American success story", she said.

The number of jobs created to make, sell and install solar panels in the USA grew at a record pace previous year, and grew much faster than the overall American economy, which is welcome news for the solar industry in the face of policy uncertainty.


"It's really about delays", said Andrea Luecke, the solar energy group's executive vice president. "It's still pretty nascent". The South Africa native refused last week to bow to growing pressure to quit Trump's advisory board.

Women represent a greater proportion of the solar workforce than in previous years, rising from 18.7% in 2013 to 28% in 2016. For black workers, that number rose to 7 percent from 5 percent.

There are now more than 260,000 solar jobs in the United States. The workforce employed in the industry has increased 17-fold since 2010.

The new figures were issued on Tuesday morning, courtesy of a new report from the The Solar Foundation.

But the White House plans "major reductions in funding" for the department, The Hill reported. "That's an incredible finding that proves that solar energy is increasingly becoming a linchpin in America's economy".

But a silver lining in the report from The Solar Foundation shows the state lost only about 400 solar jobs overall.


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