A new study from The Solar Foundation (TSF) finds that 23,682 solar jobs were added in the U.S. in 2013, bringing the total number employed in the U.S. solar sector to 142,698. The figures show a 19.9% increase in the number of solar jobs since September 2012. According to the report, employment in the solar sector grew 10 times faster than the national average employment growth rate of 1.9% in the same period.
‘This is an exciting time for the solar industry in the United States, made even more clear by the latest industry job figures,’ says Ernest Moniz, secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, in a statement. ‘According to the Solar Foundation, today there are more than 140,000 Americans employed up and down the U.S. solar supply chain and across every state. Since 2010, the solar industry has created nearly 50,000 new American jobs.’
According to the report, solar employers are optimistic about 2014, expecting to add another 22,000 jobs over the coming year. By comparison, over the same time period, the fossil fuel electric generation sector shrank by more than 8,500 jobs – a decline of 8.7% – and jobs in coal mining grew by just 0.25%, TSA says, citing the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
‘The National Solar Jobs Census 2013’ was conducted by TSF and BW Research Partnership, with support from the GW Solar Institute. The report, derived from data collected from more than 2,081 solar firms, measured employment growth in the solar industry between September 2012 and November 2013. The margin of error of this data set is +/- 1.3%.
‘The study shows both aggressive hiring and clear optimism among U.S. solar companies," says Philip Jordan, vice president at BW Research Partnership. ‘Of particular interest was the continued high wages among solar installers, who earned an average of between $20 and $23.63 per hour. 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.’
The full report is available here.