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solar jobs

2018 Solar Jobs Census

The National Solar Jobs Foundation covers the size and scope of the American solar workforce.  The rapid development of solar energy has created an astonishing number of well-paying American jobs.  As of 2018, there are approximately 242,343 solar workers in the United States, resulting in an overall growth of 159% since the first Census was released in 2010.  Although, in 2017, the rate of growth in the solar industry slowed, resulting in a solar employment decline of approximately 8,000 jobs. 

Solar employment had declined due to the Trump administration’s 30% tariff imposed on most imported solar modules at the beginning of 2018.  The hearing had caused uncertainty in the solar marketplace and utility-scale solar developers to delay their projects in 2017, resulting in an overall solar industry decline.  However, within the next year, solar jobs and installations are expected to return to an incline since installation equipment is now accessible and affordable for utility-scale developers.

Survey respondents predict a 7% solar job increase in 2019, due to incomplete utility-scale projects and new policy incentives in key states.  In 2018, solar jobs and markets have developed an increase in 29 states.  States with the highest solar workforce growth include Florida, Illinois, Texas, and New York.  The complete 2018 list of solar jobs by state can be found here.   

Approximately 87,000 (56%) of 155,000 solar jobs in the installation and project development sector are concentrated on the residential market segment.  About 46,000 jobs (30%) are focused in the non-residential segment, including roughly 12,500 jobs in community solar.  Furthermore, the utility-scale market is said to compromise 22,000 jobs (14%).  

The solar workforce demographics remained quite similar to the previous year.  In 2018, 26% of the workforce consisted of women; 17% consisted of Latino or Hispanic workers; 8% were made up of black or African American workers; and Asian workers made up 9%.  

In 2018, there was an 8% increase in the difficulty level of finding qualified candidates to hire, resulting in 26% of solar establishments reporting it to be “very difficult”.  Prior to 2018, in 2017, only 18% of solar establishments reported such challenges.   

Andrea Luecke, President and Executive Director at The Solar Foundation explains, “Despite two challenging years, the long-term outlook for this industry remains positive as even more Americans turn to low-cost solar energy and storage solutions to power their homes and businesses”.  She continues, “However, it will take exceptional leadership at the federal, state, and local levels to spur this growth and address the urgent challenge of climate change. Expanding solar energy and storage across America will create high-quality jobs, reduce carbon emissions, boost local economies, and build resilient and adaptive communities”.  Solar energy is expected to continue to be a leading job creator for America.  

 

Report: South Carolina Solar Jobs Increased In 2017

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!