U.S. solar jobs census finds solar employment on the rise

RP news wires

The Solar Foundation, a non-profit solar education and research organization, today released a first-of-its-kind review of the solar workforce in the United States. The report, titled, "National Solar Jobs Census 2010: A Review of the U.S. Solar Workforce" found that hiring in the solar workforce is on the rise. More than half of solar employers nationally plan to increase their workforce in the next year.

“Among other things, this study shows that investments made through Recovery Act -- including the $2.3 billion in tax credits to U.S. based clean energy manufacturing -- are already generating positive results,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis.  “The solar energy sector is an increasingly important source of good jobs for Americans.  Fostering the growth of this emerging industry will help protect our environment, ensure the U.S. remains competitive in the global economy, and offer great opportunities for the nation’s working families.”

"This first-ever national census shows that solar jobs are on the rise and expected to grow 26 percent in the coming year," said Andrea Luecke, acting executive director of The Solar Foundation. "By examining the data from thousands of companies along the entire supply-chain, the study shows that the solar industry is having a substantial and positive impact on the U.S. economy."

As of August 2010, the National Solar Jobs Census 2010 identified more than 16,700 solar employment sites and 93,000 solar jobs in all 50 states. It also found that solar employers expect to increase the number of solar workers by 26 percent, representing nearly 24,000 net new jobs by August 2011. This rate is significantly higher than the expected three percent net job loss in fossil fuel power generation and the economy-wide expectation of two percent growth over the same period.

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 report included data from more than 2,400 solar company survey respondents.

The National Solar Jobs Census 2010 was conducted by The Solar Foundation and Green LMI Consulting with technical assistance from Cornell University.

"This study contains high-quality research methodology," said John Bunge, Associate Professor in the Department of Statistical Science at Cornell University, and an associate professor of social statistics at Cornell's ILR School. "Using both primary and secondary data sources further strengthens this data and ensures even higher confidence in its results."

The National Solar Jobs Census 2010 will be made publicly available for the first time at The Solar Foundation's Release Party at Solar Power International '10 in Los Angeles on October 13. For details, go to www.TheSolarFoundation.org/eventswebinars.

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