The Solar Foundation just released their 2014 National Solar Jobs Census, which contains data on current solar jobs, trends, and growth in the industry. The bottom line: solar is creating jobs in this country at a faster rate than many industries, surpassing the number of jobs created by the coal industry, and beating expectations for growth year after year.
According to the report, in 2014 the solar industry added workers at a rate that was 20 times faster than the overall economy. There are now more than 170,000 solar jobs across all 50 states. Employment grew between 2013 and 2014 in the categories of installation, manufacturing, sales and distribution, and project development. And the great majority of this growth represents completely new jobs rather than existing employment where solar has become an added responsibility.
This growth in solar employment is unsurprisingly closely linked to the increasing rate of solar panel adoption in the U.S. In 2010, the domestic solar industry had installed about 929 MW of solar generation capacity. That number has grown to 7,200 MW in 2014—an increase of 675 percent!
The report contains lots of great information for data geeks, but if you if you don’t have time to read the entire thing, you can download the 2-page fact sheet to get the gist. And, since a picture is worth a thousand words, I thought I’d share the nifty infographic that was generated to summarize the good news: