The news is in, and the outlook is bright! The Solar Foundation, an industry leader for economic development research in the solar workforce, has released their annual jobs census, highlighting the expected and continued increase in solar-related employment. Once again, the information points to a growing presence of solar professionals in the workforce, and the continuation of solar energy growth in the marketplace.
In 2014 alone, more than 31,000 new solar industry jobs were added to the U.S. economy. This growth is twenty times higher than the average growth rate for all jobs in the nation. For every 78 new jobs in 2014, one of them was in the solar PV industry. Since 2010, 80,000 jobs have been added, bringing the total number of industry jobs to 174,000. By comparison, the entirety of the coal mining industry employs 93,000.
2015 will continue on the same path, with an encouraging 20% solar job growth prediction. In the past two years, the growth predictions by solar employers have exceeded expectations by 2% and 6%, respectively. The job growth forecast for 2015 is expected to be a whopping eight times greater than the coal, oil, and gas industries combined.
For those who work in the solar industry, this information is welcome, but not exceedingly surprising. The growing awareness and evidence of issues related to burning of fossil fuels is taking center stage, and the general public is increasingly more concerned with how and where they obtain their energy. The dramatic reduction of prices for solar PV arrays in recent years has also fueled interest in the industry, where some homeowners may actually save money from day one by switching to solar’s clean, renewable supply. One thing is certain for the solar energy industry: The forecast calls for sun and clear skies.