EMPLOYMENT SEES A SURGE in the SOLAR industry
Yet another feat achieved by the U.S is that solar industry employed around 2,60,077 workers during 2016, which is almost a 25 percent jump compared to 2015. This jump, according to a report released by The Solar Foundation, was driven by a tremendous increase in the solar panel installations.
Moreover, it can be noticed that the rise in solar installations did not take place just out of the blue. It is caused due to a significant decrease in the costs of solar panels, and the growing demands from customers, says
Andrea Luecke, Executive Director and President of The Solar Foundation.
An interesting thing to notice here is a study released by the U.S Department of Energy (DOE) prior to the solar jobs census. It observed that in comparison to the coal power plants or the natural gas plants, more Americans work at the solar plants. The DOE report found that around 3,74,000 Americans work in the solar industry. Whereas, in comparison to this, only around 1,87,117 workers are employed at various natural gas, oil, and coal power plants.
This report projects that there is a 10 percent increase in the employment rate in the solar sector during 2016. One out of 50 new American jobs during 2016 was in the solar sector. Not only this, the solar industry added around 73,615 new jobs to the ever-increasing U.S economy during 2016. Furthermore, the wind sector added 24,650 new jobs. Luecke says that these are well-paying and family sustaining jobs having low barriers to entry. Adding to it, she says that the number of solar industry jobs will increase notably by 10 percent in 2017.
There are many companies like the Sunrun Inc., Canadian Solar Inc., and the Sunpowercorp. who are hiring as a part of their gearing process for an estimated 29 percent increase in the installed capacity during this year.
This employment boom in the solar industry can be credited to the construction work that is associated with the expansion of generation capacity. Electricity generation from natural gas saw an increase of 33 percent during the same period, while electricity generation from solar power saw an enormous expansion by almost 5,000 percent.