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Solar was responsible for one in 50 new US jobs last year, says National Solar Jobs Census

Diane Collins and Jordan Hollender | Iconica | Getty Images

Solar jobs in America increased at an "historic" pace in 2016 on "unprecedented" consumer demand as the cost of solar panels declined, according to The Solar Foundation's National Solar Jobs Census 2016.

The report – now in its seventh edition – found that the solar industry accounted for two percent of all jobs created in the U.S. over the past year, with solar jobs increasing in 44 of the 50 states.

As of November 2016, 260,077 solar workers were employed by the industry, "representing a growth rate of 24.5 percent since November 2015." Over the 12 month period, the solar industry was responsible for more than one in every 50 new jobs created in the U.S.

"With a near tripling of solar jobs since 2010, the solar industry is an American success story that has created hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs," Andrea Luecke, president and executive director of The Solar Foundation, said in a statement.

"In 2016, we saw a dramatic increase in the solar workforce across the nation, thanks to a rapid decrease in the cost of solar panels and unprecedented consumer demand for solar installations," Luecke added.

"More than ever, it's clear that solar energy is a low-cost, reliable, super-abundant American energy source that is driving economic growth, strengthening businesses, and making our cities smarter and more resilient."

California had the highest number of jobs in solar, with Massachusetts, Texas, Nevada and Florida following behind.

"Solar is an important part of our ever expanding clean energy economy in Massachusetts, supporting thousands of high-skilled careers across the Commonwealth," Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said.

"Through the continued development of solar incentive programs, Massachusetts is positioned to double the amount of solar for half the cost to ratepayers and maintain our position as one of the best states in the country for energy diversity."

The Solar Foundation's results are based on what it described as "rigorous survey efforts." This included over 500,000 phone calls and more than 60,000 emails to both "known and potential energy establishments" across the U.S.