Solar Accounts for 1 in 50 New US Jobs in 2016

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09 February, 2017

NY had 8,135 solar energy jobs past year, down 1 percent from 2015 but still the sixth most of any state in the nation, according to a new report from the Solar Foundation. The jobs census defines solar workers as those who spend at least half their time on solar-related work.

The report, which is the seventh annual look at the solar power workforce in the country, found that solar industry employment outpaced US economic growth by 17 times, with an addition of 51,000 jobs during the year.

According to numbers released by the foundation, Pennsylvania ranked 22nd in the nation in the number of new solar jobs created past year.

States where solar jobs contracted in 2016 include Nevada and MA, where changes in policies that support solar dampened demand past year.

Many states that voted for President Trump saw significant growth in solar jobs past year, including Indiana, Louisiana, Nebraska and Wisconsin, according to the report.

Nationally, the industry saw 25% growth with over 260,000 Americans now working in the solar sector, up from 208,859 last year, and comprising the fourth consecutive year with more than 20% growth. In comparison, jobs in the overall US economy grew at a rate of 1.45 percent.

Solar Foundation president and executive director Andrea Luecke said that solar jobs in the USA almost tripled since that initial report.

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"Our awesome growth in rooftop solar is not just helping Utah's families do their part for clean air and clean energy, but it's becoming a major economic driver", he said.

"The better way to look at it from Canada's perspective is that the last couple of years have really been an anomaly, based essentially on a bunch of projects coming through the pipeline all at the same time", Amy Grace, a researcher at BNEF, told the National Observer.

That stat comes from a report from The Solar Foundation, a group that describes itself as "a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to advancing solar energy use worldwide".

Solar workers look more and more like America's demographics: Between 2015 and 2016, the percentage of women in the solar workforce increased from 24 percent to 28 percent, while the percentage of African Americans increased from 5 percent to 7 percent, and Latinos from 11 percent to 17 percent.

Elon Musk, the billionaire chieftain of electric vehicle and solar energy giant Tesla who serves as the industry's poster boy, could urge Trump to spare solar incentives.

Solar jobs are not limited to one or two states, or even just blue states instead of red ones.


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