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The Value of a Solar Job

Monday, Sep 06 2021

Abigail Ross Hopper
solar workers

As leaders in the solar energy industry, we know that every solar panel we install brings us one step closer to stopping the worst effects of the climate crisis. However, in order to meet this moment, the solar sector needs a strong, diverse and talented workforce to power our clean energy future. Because our employees are the backbone of our industry, we are committed to creating high quality, well-paying, stable jobs that families can count on.

Solar jobs are valuable, family-supporting careers that offer healthcare, retirement benefits, and the opportunity for rapid growth and development. These jobs tend to pay more than similar occupations in other energy industries and the economy as a whole, an important consideration when Americans across the country are looking for something better. And when it comes to unionization rates, the solar industry stands at 10.3%, which is on par with the rest of the economy.

These are also stable and reliable jobs. Even during the height of the pandemic, the solar industry kept 231,000 Americans on the payroll and helped generate $25 billion in private investment to our economy. But this is just a small snapshot of the value of the solar sector. Across the country, there are 3 million solar installations and by 2030, nearly 1 in 8 homes will have solar.

The solar energy industry is here to stay and will continue to be a top employer for years to come. Over the last five years, solar installer positions have consistently ranked as one of the fastest growing jobs in the country. These workers are the heartbeat of the solar industry and are helping to build our clean energy future.

In addition to solar installation jobs, the industry supports an impressive network of jobs that may not require a hardhat. There are solar workers in project development, sales, finance, operations and maintenance, manufacturing and many other areas too. Not to mention adjacent industries, like legal, tax, marketing and real estate professionals that all benefit from the growing solar industry. All of these jobs are valuable and help to drive the clean energy economy.

While the solar industry is on track for record growth, it’s not growing fast enough. In order to reach President Biden’s ambitious 2035 climate goals, the solar industry will need a workforce that’s nearly 1 million strong. That’s four times the size of the workforce today.

The solar industry is already providing world class training to its employees, but support from the federal government can help us welcome even more people to the industry. This will ensure people in communities that have been disproportionately impacted by climate change, as well as former fossil workers who want to stay in the energy sector, all have a fair shot at the jobs we create. This training can also help us modernize the grid and prepare for the biggest challenges yet to come.

President Biden has put forth a compelling plan to invest in clean energy infrastructure and the quality, well-paying jobs they can provide in every zip code across the country. With the right investments and long-term policy certainty for the solar industry, we can put America on the right path. Every single solar worker, whether they are new to the energy field or a life-long union member, contributes to this vision and is a valuable part our clean energy future.

If our leaders want to address the climate crisis, support American families, and grow our economy for years to come, it is critical that they invest in clean energy infrastructure. This is a historic opportunity to build a future and jobs we can all be proud of, and we urge our leaders to take action.

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