Solar companies might be shedding jobs at an uncomfortable rate right now, but the U.S. solar industry is expected to provide a good 440,000 permanent jobs by the year 2016, according to researchers at Navigant Consulting. While those job figures are substantial, when it comes to sun, all states are not created equal. That’s why Google.org and the Solar Energy Research Education Foundation (SEREF) decided to take the Navigant study and feed it into Google Earth, to show off a state-by-state comparison.
To check it out you need to download Google Earth and then go into the Google Earth Outreach layer (the above is just a screen shot). First thing we noticed: California will deliver almost half of the solar jobs in the U.S. by 2016. (Thank you, state Renewable Portfolio Standard and Solar Roofs Program!) Beyond Cali, sun-soaked states like Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico make up the bulk of the remaining solar jobs. The rest of the states like Alaska, Kentucky, and North Carolina? . . . yeah, not so much. If you’re looking for a leg-up in the solar biz, head west.