One out of every 50 new jobs created in the USA last year was in the solar energy industry according to The Solar Foundation’s just-published National Solar Jobs Census 2016 report.
The solar workforce grew by 25 percent over 2015 to reach 260,077, the largest annual growth percentage since the first Census was released in 2010.
The state with the highest total number of solar jobs last year was California; followed by Massachusetts, Texas, Nevada, and Florida. 44 out of 50 US states recorded employment growth in the industry.
The Foundation states employment growth outpaced the overall U.S. economy by 17 times and jobs in the industry have increased at least 20% per year for the past four years.
“With a near tripling of solar jobs since 2010, the solar industry is an American success story that has created hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs,” said Andrea Luecke, President and Executive Director of The Solar Foundation.
“ More than ever, it’s clear that solar energy is a low-cost, reliable, super-abundant American energy source that is driving economic growth, strengthening businesses, and making our cities smarter and more resilient.”
The sectors experiencing the greatest growth last year were R&D and Finance (+55%), followed by Project Development (+53%), Sales and Distribution (+32%), Manufacturing (+26%) and Installation (+14%).
The solar industry now employs more than twice as many Americans as the nation’s entire coal industry and just as many as the natural gas industry.
Looking ahead, employers surveyed expect to see total solar industry employment increase by 10 percent to 286,335 solar workers over the next 12 months.
The Census defines solar workers as those who spend at least half of their time engaged in work related to the industry. The Foundation says it has consistently found approximately 90 percent of these workers spend all of their time on solar-related work.
As for the number of American workers spending any level of time working the industry, a recent report from the Department of Energy puts that number at 373,807.
More from the National Solar Jobs Census 2016 can be viewed here.