US Solar Industry Employs 174,000 People!

The 2014 National Solar Jobs Census is in, and it has great news for the US.

173,807 people are employed by the solar industry, adding 31,000 jobs last year – a growth rate of 21.8%, from 2013– another strong year. When you add in the indirect jobs it stimulates, the industry contributes to 700,000 jobs.

Solar employment grew nearly 20 times faster than the national average of 1.1%, far outpacing fossil fuel jobs.

Fossil jobs created in 2014:

  • Oil and gas pipeline construction 10,529
  • Oil and natural gas industry: 8,688
  • Total employment for coal mining is 93,185; oil and gas, 216,000

You can see the solar industry grew more than expected:Solar Jobs 2013

This year, the solar industry expects to add 35,000 jobs, bringing the total to 210,060, a 20.9% increase.

Not surprisingly, solar installers account for 97,000 jobs, followed by manufacturing (32,000), sales (21,000) and project development (15,000).

And they are well-paying jobs, averaging $20-$24 an hour for installers and $44 an hour in sales, with a diverse workforce, 10% of which are veterans. SolarCity is the biggest employer with 9000 jobs, hiring 4000 in 2014. 

"The solar sector has grown an extraordinary 86% in the last four years, adding approximately 81,000 jobs. One out of every 78 new jobs created in the US over the past 12 months was created by the solar industry – nearly 1.3% of all jobs," says Andrea Luecke, Executive Director of The Solar Foundation, which conducts the annual census. 73,000 of them are in California, but they are spread across the US.

Major solar installers announced new infusions of cash to keep the ball rolling. SolarCity got $350 million from JP Morgan, following $170 million last year. It’s also getting $200 million from Credit Suisse for the new MyPower initiative, essentially a solar loan. Sunrun closed a $195 million deal with Investec.

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