100,000 Americans Working In U.S. Solar Energy Industry

Preliminary data from The Solar Foundation’s latest National Solar Job Census shows 100,237 Americans are now working in the U.S. solar industry.

The sector added 6,735 new workers across the USA since the last census in 2010; representing an increase of 6.8 percent. The result is far short of what The Solar Foundation predicted last year, but according to Andrea Luecke, executive director of Foundation, the industry’s job growth still outpaced that of the overall economy (.7 percent growth) and fossil fuel electric generation; which lost 2 percent of its workforce.

Danny Kennedy, a member of The Solar Foundation’s board of directors, called solar a "job-creating phenomenon in an economy that is flat-lining".

"This is a sign of a thriving industry – due to the demand for lower cost, clean electricity that creates value in America," he said.

Despite recent challenges and criticism the US solar power industry is succumbing to competition from China, a recent report on the state of the U.S. solar industry shows the sector is holding its own, with local solar companies ending 2010 with a positive trade balance to the tune of $1.9 billion. The study also found 75 percent of the cost of a solar installation in the US filters back into the nation’s economy, primarily through wages and services.

The National Solar Jobs Census 2011 : A Review of the U.S. Solar Workforce was carried out by The Solar Foundation and Green LMI, with technical assistance from Cornell University. The full report will be made available at Solar Power International ‘11 in Dallas on October 17 – an event expected to attract more than 24,000 professionals from within the industry.

Founded in 1977, The Solar Foundation is a USA non-profit working to demonstrate the global benefits of solar energy through research and education.