National Solar Job Census 2010 Released

Joanna Schroeder

The first National Solar Jobs Census 2010 report was released this week and the report shows that top state for solar energy companies is California followed by Colorado, Pennsylvania, Texas, Michigan, and Arizona. The Solar Foundation, along with Green LMI Consulting undertook the project aimed at examining the size and scope of the solar industry.

The census found that in general, U.S. solar companies expect to add jobs at a pace greater than the general economy. They also anticipate their revenue will grow in the next few years. As of August 2010, the industry employs around 93,000 solar workers as defined as spending at least 50 percent of their time supporting solar-related activities. Job growth numbers are optimistic with more than 50 percent of solar firms expecting to add jobs in the next year, while only 2 percent expect to eliminate jobs.

In response to the report, Arizona U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords noted that while the state is leading the way in solar development with an estimated 230 solar companies located in the state, they still have a tremendous potential to expand.

“Arizona is the sunniest state in the country,” said Giffords. “There is no reason that states more famous for cars, cheese and peaches should have more solar energy jobs than we do.”

Giffords continued, “The growth potential of the solar industry in Arizona is – like the sunshine that beats down on our state – virtually limitless. When we harness the power of the sun and put it to work for us, we not only tap into a clean, renewable source of energy, we also strengthen our economy and lay the foundation for future prosperity.”

Other key findings from the report include that solar jobs are available in all 50 states, and solar job growth over the next 12 months is anticipated to be 26 percent, representing nearly 24,000 net new jobs. This expected growth rate is significantly higher than the U.S. economy-wide expectation of 2 percent growth over the same period.

Electricity, Solar