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National Solar Jobs Census

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From the Executive Summary:

The Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census 2014 is the fifth annual update of current employment, trends, and projected growth in the U.S. solar industry. Data for Census 2014 is derived from a statistically valid sampling and comprehensive survey of 276,376 establishments throughout the nation, in industries ranging from manufacturing, to construction and engineering, to sales. Rapid change in this industry has warranted annual examinations of the size and scope of the domestic solar labor force and updates on employers’ perspectives on job growth and future opportunities.

This year’s Census found that the industry continues to exceed growth expectations, adding workers at a rate nearly 20 times faster than the overall economy and accounting for 1.3% of all jobs created in the U.S. over the past year. Our long-term research shows that solar industry employment has grown by 86% in the past five years, resulting in nearly 80,000 domestic living-wage jobs. The installation sector, made up of men and women placing these systems in service, crew managers or foremen, system designers and engineers, and sales representatives and site assessors, remains the single largest source of domestic employment growth, more than doubling in size since 2010.

With leading market analyses continuing to project record-breaking increases in annual installed solar capacity before the 30% federal investment tax credit (ITC) expires at the end of 2016, it is very likely that the national solar workforce will continue growing at its remarkable pace in the short term. However, if the ITC reverts to the 10% level in 2017, solar employment growth is likely to slow or may even experience significant job losses.

As of November 2014, the solar industry employs 173,807 solar workers, representing a growth rate of 21.8% since November 2013. Since Census 2013, U.S. businesses added more than 2 million jobs, a growth rate of 1.1%, meaning employment in the solar industry grew nearly 20 times faster than employment in the overall economy. Over the next 12 months, employers surveyed expect to see total employment in the solar industry increase by 20.9% to 210,060 solar workers.

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