Thursday, January 17, 2013

National Solar Jobs Census 2012

On November 14th, 2012, The Solar Foundation released its third annual National Solar Jobs Census report, which found that the U.S. solar industry currently employs 119,016 Americans. This figure represents the addition of 13,872 new solar workers and a 13.2 percent employment growth rate over the past 12 months. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the overall economy grew at a rate of 2.3 percent during the same period*, signifying that 1 in 230 jobs created nationally over the last year were created in the solar industry. The report, produced by The Solar Foundation and in partnership with BW Research and Cornell University, was released at the Interstate Renewable Energy Council's Clean Energy Workforce Education Conference in Albany, NY.

By comparing the job growth expectations from both our multi-year research effort and existing secondary sources, we can draw several important conclusions:

As of September 2012,

  • Eighty-six percent of the nearly 14,000 new solar workers added since August 2011 represent new jobs, rather than existing positions that have added solar responsibilities.
  • Installers added the most solar workers over the past year, more than offsetting declines in manufacturing. While this subsector is dominated by small firms, employment is growing most dramatically at larger firms, suggesting consolidation and maturation of the installation sector.
  • Solar employment is expected to grow by 17.2 percent over the next 12 months, representing the addition of approximately 20,000 new solar workers. Forty-four percent of all solar firms expect to add solar employees during this period.
  • Employers from all of the solar industry subsectors examined in this study expect significant employment growth over the next 12 months, with nearly all of them projecting percentage job growth in the double-digits.
  • Nearly half of installation firms expect to add solar workers in the next year, adding a total of nearly 12,000 jobs (21 percent growth year-over-year).
  • Approximately 90 percent of those who meet our definition of a "solar workers" (those workers who spend at least 50 percent of their time supporting solar-related activities) actually spend 100 percent of their time working on solar.
  • Over half of all firms (across all subsectors) generate 100 percent of their revenues exclusively from solar.
  • Employers are increasingly less likely to span multiple subsectors, suggesting that firms are beginning to specialize.

PRESS RELEASE (Full Report - out Nov. 14th)
PRESS RELEASE (Top Line Numbers - out Nov. 2nd)

Much more in the FULL REPORT

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