Create a free Manufacturing.net account to continue

Report: Solar Energy Creates One in 50 New US Jobs

A newly released report estimates that the U.S. solar energy was responsible for one in every 50 new jobs created in the country last year.

A newly released report estimates that the U.S. solar energy was responsible for one in every 50 new jobs created in the country last year.

The Solar Foundation's latest annual National Solar Jobs Census said that employment in the solar sector increased by 25 percent last year β€” the highest since the report began in 2010 β€” and now employs more than 260,000 workers.

Solar Foundation president and executive director Andrea Luecke said that solar jobs in the U.S. nearly tripled since that initial report, and The Washington Post reported that the solar industry is the second-largest energy industry in the U.S. β€” trailing only oil and petroleum β€” and employs many more Americans than the coal sector.

Panel installers accounted for majority of the more than 50,000 new jobs as solar panel prices continue to decline and homes and businesses increasingly embrace solar energy.

"More than ever, it’s clear that solar energy is a low-cost, reliable, super-abundant American energy source that is driving economic growth, strengthening businesses and making our cities smarter and more resilient," Luecke said in a statement.

The sharp increase last year, the Post reported, was likely due to the anticipated expiration of a tax credit for solar investment. The 2016 expiration date, however, was pushed back and the credit will now be phased out between 2019 and 2022.

Analysts said that although the industry is expected to grow more modestly this year, decreasing panel costs and growing acceptance of solar systems will likely continue despite a White House that's much less likely to emphasize renewable energy. The Post reported that President Donald Trump's energy plan doesn't mention solar energy at all.

The Solar Foundation also noted that the increased jobs were not confined to specific states or regions. Solar employment climbed in 44 of 50 states, according to the census, and although liberal stalwarts California and Massachusetts employed the largest numbers of solar workers, they were followed by Texas, Nevada and Florida.

The Post noted that the new solar electrical capacity added last year also likely set a record.

More in Energy