National Solar Jobs Consensus 2012 – Great News for Solar & Economy!
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.
To read the full report, click here or read the report’s highlights below:
U.S. solar companies continue their trend of hiring faster than the overall economy, and remain optimistic about future growth. In fact, as of September 2012, the solar industry has grown to 119,016 solar workers—deﬁned as those workers who spend at least 50% of their time supporting solar-related activities. This is up over 13% from the 2011 revised ﬁgures. Over the next 12 months, nearly 45% of solar ﬁrms expect to add jobs, while fewer than 4% expect to cut workers, yielding a 17% growth in employment. This ﬁnding is especially relevant given that the overall employment in the entire U.S. economy is projected to grow by only 1.5% over the next 12 months.
There are 119,016 solar workers in the United States, up from a revised 105,145 in 2011. This represents an overall growth rate of 13.2% since August 2011, which is nearly six times higher than the national average employment growth rate of 2.3% over the same period. This comparison indicates that since the release of Census 2011, one in 230 new jobs were created in the solar industry.
- 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 subsector.
- Solar employment is expected to grow by 17.2% 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 (a 21% growth rate year-over-year).
- Approximately 90% of those who meet our deﬁnition of a “solar worker” (those workers who spend at least 50% of their time supporting solar-related activities) actually spent 100% of their time working on solar.
- Over half of all ﬁrms (across all subsectors) generate 100% of their revenues exclusively from solar.
- Employers are increasingly less likely to span multiple subsectors, suggesting that ﬁrms are beginning to specialize.