As Solar Power International begins today in Dallas, TX the Solar Foundation released its second annual review of the U.S. solar workforce. The “National Solar Jobs Census 2011: A Review of the U.S. Solar Workforce” found that hiring in the solar workforce is on the rise. More than 100,000 Americans are now employed in the solar industry. “The solar industry has grown into a major economic force with more than 100,000 employees in the United States,” said Andrea Luecke, executive director of The Solar Foundation. “We expect even greater growth in the foreseeable future. But policymakers, workforce training providers, and the industry must work together to continue creating good jobs for skilled workers.” Solar Power International 2011, runs today until October 20, and is expected to attract 24,000 professionals from businesses spanning the entire spectrum of the industry.
California continued to be the national leader in solar employment, with 25,575 workers. Rounding out the top 10 states are Colorado, Arizona, Pennsylvania, New York, Florida, Texas, Oregon, New Jersey and Massachusetts. Colorado, Arizona, Florida, Oregon, New Jersey and Massachusetts showed the strongest growth rates from August 2010.
The Census also found that solar employers expect to increase the number of solar workers by 24 percent, representing nearly 24,000 net new jobs by August 2012. Over the next 12 months, nearly half of solar firms expect to add jobs.”These survey responses merely reflect employers’ best estimates at expected new hiring, but it demonstrates a clear growth pattern for the industry and tremendous optimism by employers in the industry,” said Luecke. “Employers expressed similar optimism last year, but failed to meet their hiring expectations because of stalled legislative initiatives and continued policy uncertainty.”