After another year of record-breaking growth in installation capacity, the U.S. solar industry added more than 51,000 jobs in 2016, a 25 percent increase in employment over the previous year. According to the National Solar Jobs Census, compiled and published by The Solar Foundation, employment in the U.S. solar industry has nearly tripled since 2010.
The sectors in solar that are seeing most growth are project development and non-traditional roles, such as R&D and finance positions; both grew by 53 percent in 2016. Traditional solar jobs such as manufacturing and installation grew by 26 percent and 14 percent, respectively. The Solar Foundation predicts this growth trend will continue over the next 12 months, with employers increasing the workforce by another 10 percent to total 286,335 solar workers.
California saw the biggest jobs increase in consecutive years, reaching a total of 100,050 jobs in 2016 that contributed $24.7 billion to the state’s GDP. In order to sustain future growth, California solar employers need access to highly skilled and trained workers, which makes offering more focused and comprehensive solar training efforts a critical part of the solar landscape. These efforts to train and educate the solar workforce will not only benefit employers by reducing talent and acquisition cost, but will boost efficiency across the solar value chain, and ultimately reduce costs for California solar customers.