New Report Shows Significant Increase in Solar Industry Jobs for 2014

The Solar Foundation, an independent nonprofit with a mission to increase understating of solar energy, recently published its annual National Solar Jobs Census 2014 report.  The report found the U.S. solar industry created jobs at a rate nearly 20 times higher than the average employment growth for a second consecutive year.

Since the Foundation began tracking solar jobs in 2010, there has been an 86 percent increase in employment for a total of 173,807 American jobs in the industry today.  The year’s job increases came primarily from installation and project development, with several large-scale utility solar projects coming online in 2014.  The U.S. Energy Information Administration report mid-way through 2014 indicated a 70 percent increase in utility solar additions from the same time the year before. 

Upcoming 2015 employment growth is expected to continue outpacing average U.S. employment by roughly 20 percent; however, continued growth depends largely on federal investment tax credit (ITC).  The tax credit is set to drop from 30% to 10%for commercial projects and end completely for residential consumers after December 2016. 

The tax credit has been an important part of industry growth and the report highlights a survey showing 75 percent of solar businesses indicated the 30 percent tax credit has significantly helped their business.  However, 60 percent of business also said a change in the tax credit will impact their future business prospects.  According to those surveyed, the installation sector, which has seen the most growth, is expected to take the largest hit with over 62 percent of survey participants indicating they expect to lay off staff or contractors once the tax credit changes take effect. 

The solar workforce is becoming increasingly diverse with an increased number of Latino/Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, African American, women, and veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces.  Since 2010 employers have reported growing difficulties in hiring new talent and wages paid to solar industry workers remains competitive.  Solar installation firms pay an average of $20-24 per hour, manufactures $18 per hour and internal sales staff earn approximately $44 per hour.  Solar salespeople pay ranges from $30-60 per hour, with solar designers receiving $30-40 per hour. 

You can find a copy of the report here or the report fact sheet here.

 

The following charts and graphs are from the National Solar Jobs Census report

Source: "National Solar Jobs Census 2014, The Solar Foundation, available at: www.tsfcensus.org"

 

 

Source: "National Solar Jobs Census 2014, The Solar Foundation, available at: www.tsfcensus.org"

 

 

Source: "National Solar Jobs Census 2014, The Solar Foundation, available at: www.tsfcensus.org"

 

 

Source: "National Solar Jobs Census 2014, The Solar Foundation, available at: www.tsfcensus.org"

 

 

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