Energy-Related Jobs: Solar Energy And The Keystone Pipeline

From Forbes

By Peter Kelly-Detwiler

As the solar installation numbers go up, so too do the jobs. The Solar Foundation recently released its 2013 National Solar Jobs Census (SJC) showing an estimated 142,000 workers active in the solar industry.  This number is up almost 20% since 2012, with the addition of 24,000 new workers, and 50% since 2010. Over the coming year, 45% of the businesses surveyed expect to add more jobs while fewer than 2% expect to lay people off. At present, the solar industry is a critical employment generator in the U.S, generating one of every 142 new jobs created. Not surprisingly, two-thirds of the employment generated is in the relatively labor-intensive installation side of the business, earning an average $23.63 hourly wage.

This morning, The Solar Foundation releases its interactive map, showing job information by state.   It also provides district level employment information for California and other states. The SJC shows jobs creation in all 50 states (Alaska?!), though California, Arizona, New Jersey and Massachusetts take the lion’s share, at almost 50% of the total. Cumulative installed solar capacity in the U.S. is already north of 10,000 MW, with 4,300 MW installed in 2013. Additions to installed capacity in 2014 look to be even larger, with the SJC predicting the addition of an additional 22,000 jobs.

Image: The Solar Foundation

Image: The Solar Foundation

Nor surprisingly, the jobs numbers are the highest in states that have strong incentives to spur solar investments.  California leads the nation in solar employment – with over 47,000 jobs – and a strong solar manufacturing base (22% of jobs were factory-related). Arizona came in second with 8,500 positions.

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