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Summary:

The solar industry was one of the fastest growing sectors in the U.S. last year, and grew 10 times faster than the average adding 24K new jobs.

SolarCity

There are now close to 143,000 jobs in the solar industry in the U.S., and the sector grew almost 20 percent last year, according to a new report from The Solar Foundation. That amount of growth is ten times the national employment growth rate average (1.9 percent) over the same period.

The solar industry added close to 24,000 solar jobs last year, and 90 percent of those jobs were new jobs. Two thirds of those jobs were in the installation sector, and the jobs were distributed across the U.S., many of them in states with strong solar incentives.

Mabus-solar

Solar financier and installer SolarCity added 2,000 jobs last year on its own and now employs 4,500 workers. The company went public at the end of 2012, and is now trading many times its IPO price. SunPower also added hundreds of jobs last year.

Growth in the solar industry in the U.S. in 2014 is also expected to be strong, though slightly slower than in 2013, due to growing efficiencies for installation solar panels. The Solar Foundation is predicting around 16 percent growth for solar jobs this year.

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  1. Reblogged this on Matt Fisher and commented:
    While the entrenched interests of the Second Industrial Revolution are unlikely to simply embrace the Third Industrial Revolution, growth of solar is promising sign of things to come. If we expand the scope of optimism to include financing avenues for renewables, such as Mosaic.com, then be it solar, wind, or geothermal there is momentum that alternatives may be sufficiently scaled to abandon fossil fuels before the most dire scenarios of climate change come to pass.

  2. Are these short-term jobs, or jobs with longterm potential? The problem with renewables (or benefits depending on your perspective) is that their low maintenance and zero fuel requirements means that once you build the installation, those jobs could potentially disappear if no other projects surface. Hopefully continued solar growth renders this argument moot.

  3. Brandon T, your observation is a good one… but we have two variables at play… climate change, to which jobs is secondary… and jobs, to which where those jobs are and the quality of those jobs is key. On one hand, fossil fuel extraction similarly is structured to renewables… you build the facility to extract, then much of it runs on its own. The key point your observation brings in is the comparison the maintenance of renewables vs. fossil fuels. Here, we could make a very compelling argument that renewables have a key advantage… the maintenance jobs are here. For many of the fossil fuel jobs, they are somewhere far away. As to the first part though… renewables are a clear winner over fossil fuels, if a suitable atmosphere is valuable. Great comment to facilitate further insights/discussion into the issue!

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