Need another reason to support solar power in South Carolina? One word: Jobs. Solar industry employment in South Carolina grew by 2% last year, at a time when the national trend of solar employment decreased across the country. According to the latest Solar Jobs Census by The Solar Foundation, over 2,800 workers are now employed by South Carolina’s solar industry, with a total of 250,271 Americans working in solar across the U.S.
Solar Industry In South Carolina Now Provides Over 2,800 Jobs
In the five-year period between 2012 and 2017, solar employment grew nationally by 110% overall or 16% annually, adding 131,000 jobs. Within this period, solar employment grew nine times faster than the overall U.S. economy, and one in every 100 new jobs was a solar job.
Solar makes up just under 2% of overall U.S. energy generation, yet it employs twice as many workers as the coal industry, almost five times as many as nuclear power, and nearly as many workers as the natural gas industry.
Women made up 27% of the solar workforce in 2017, down 1% from 2016. Veterans made up 9% of solar workers, which is 2% more than the overall U.S. workforce.
“One of the largest economic drivers in rural South Carolina is solar, as developers are investing billions of dollars in new infrastructure, creating millions of dollars in new tax revenue, and providing a diversified source of income that is critical to farmers. South Carolina should be looking to innovative companies like Southern Current who have proven to be competitive in a non-competitive market by providing the lowest cost power to our grid.” -Congressman Mark Sanford
Net Metering Cap Threatens Booming Industry, Jobs
A current state law ensures that no more than 2 percent of South Carolina’s electricity production can come from solar panels on people’s homes. But with the recent boom in solar installations, industry members are concerned that the 2 percent threshold may be met sooner than later. Solar companies are appealing to state lawmakers to raise or remove the cap in the name of jobs and energy savings.
“The net metering cap, if not raised, leaves no more room for residential solar. Therefore companies working in South Carolina will have to find alternative markets, like North Carolina, to do business in. It would be a real detriment to a state that’s trending up while the rest of the nation is going down.” -Steffanie Dohn, Southern Current’s Director of Government Relations
“At the rate we’re growing we anticipate over $280 million in new job wages (nationally) and $65 million in South Carolina. However, if the net metering cap is not changed, these numbers will decrease dramatically,” she added.
Learn More About Solar Power In South Carolina
According to our analysis, the average homeowner could expect to save money for 25 years with a new solar panel installation in South Carolina. Plus, available solar rebates & incentives from the state of South Carolina and local power companies bring down the overall cost, making now one of the best times to look into cutting your power bill in half (or more) with a solar power system!
Southern Current is proud to be one of the top Solar Installers in the Southeast, with capabilities in residential solar for homes, commercial solar for businesses, and utility-scale solar farms for property owners and utilities. Schedule a solar consultation today to receive a free analysis of how much money you could be saving with a solar panel installation! Don’t wait – Summer power bills are coming soon!