Solar Power Spurs Job Creation in the US


Alternative energy is not only good for the environment; it’s good for job creation, too. According to the Solar Foundation, 100,237 Americans are now working in the US solar industry. The statement is based on preliminary data from National Solar Jobs Census 2011: A Review of the U.S. Solar Workforce.

Solar businesses added 6,735 new workers in all 50 states since August 2010, which represents a 6.8 percent growth rate. The National Solar Jobs Census 2011 measured solar employment during the period between August 2010 and August 2011.

The figures reveal that the job growth within the US solar industry outpaced the overall economy and fossil fuel based electric generation when compared to overall economic data from Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc. (EMSI). During the same 12-month period, jobs in the overall economy grew by only 0.7 per cent, while fossil fuel electric generation lost two percent of its workforce.

“The U.S. solar industry is creating jobs at a far greater pace than the economy as a whole,” said Andrea Luecke, executive director of The Solar Foundation. “The National Solar Jobs Census series provides a definitive measure of the U.S. solar workforce and its growth over time. It proves where smart solar energy policies are having the most impact both in terms of states and across the vast solar supply chain.”

The full National Solar Jobs Census 2011 report became available at Solar Power International ‘11 in Dallas on October 17. The Census examines employment along the solar value chain, including installation, wholesale trade, manufacturing, utilities and all other fields and includes growth rates and job numbers for 31 separate occupations. It also examines solar employment at the state level.

The National Solar Jobs Census 2011 was conducted by The Solar Foundation and Green LMI (a division of BW Research Partnership) with technical assistance from Cornell University.

“By using high-quality research methodology, we can ensure that these numbers are as accurate as possible,” said John Bunge, Associate Professor in the Department of Statistical Science at Cornell University’s School of Industrial Labor Relations. “Using both primary and secondary data sources, along with careful statistical analysis, gives us high confidence in the results.”

Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.


  1. We had growth like this in the UK till 31st Oct when the government halved the ‘Feed-In Tariffs’ from 12th Dec. From 12th Dec jobs will be slashed and confidence in government promises for domestic renewables has plummeted. The rationale was that energy customers might have to pay too much for the installation of Solar PV, though the cost of dirty alternatives was not mentioned.

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