The Green Economy is REAL!
2015 turned out to be a good year for the solar industry. On the second Wednesday of this February, the Solar Foundation released a report on their annual census, which describes job growth in the solar industry, showing jobs in solar energy as a whole experienced 20.2% job growth. The report also revealed that in 2015, 1 out of every 83 new jobs in the United States was created by the solar industry. That is 1.2% of all jobs created last year. In the state of California alone, the solar industry grew by nearly 40%, putting the number of solar jobs in California over 75,500. Florida, Massachusetts, Nevada, Maryland, Tennessee, Oregon, Michigan, and Utah also saw their solar sectors grow by over 30%. Workers in the solar industry are being added 12 times faster than in the overall economy. Over the past six years, this growth has created over 110,000 living-wage jobs in the United States, making the solar industry desirable to prospective workers.
The census found that wages of solar employees are highly competitive with other sectors of similar industries. While the median income in 2015 for all jobs in the U.S. was about $17.09 per hour, the installation sector of the solar industry had a median wage of $21 per hour. It was even higher for individuals in other areas; for those working in solar design, it was about $27 per hour and $29 for those working in the sales & distribution sector. With the solar option only accounting for about 1% of today’s energy sources, the nationwide increases in the solar workforce could be considered impressive. The growth in jobs has also been paralleled by growth in total installed capacity which solar projects can generate. Recurrent Energy, a large-scale solar provider, is planning to operate over 1.1 gigawatts of the major solar projects in 2016. For reference, that could power over 750,000 homes. Recurrent Energy alone can potentially produce more than 2,000 jobs.
On the other hand, when states restrict solar customers, jobs are lost in those states. In Arizona, when a large utility placed higher fees on its clients, the number of new systems installed went down. In turn, Arizona saw a significant decrease in solar jobs over the course of the year. Nevada is also expecting to miss its predicted job growth for 2016 because of a recent policy change which caused lower compensation for solar customers who are part of net-metered programs. Many utilities in Nevada announced layoff after the policy change was made.
In short, solar energy proved to be a vital part of the economy in 2015. Investing in solar systems, whether they’re residential or for business, has played an important role in national and state job creation. With most solar jobs being in local communities, customers are proving to be an integral component of the solar industry.
Here is a link to a brief summary of other findings of the solar census: Click HERE.
Radiant Energy is an energy management firm with the goal of providing customers the most profitable energy solutions for their company. Our strategies are adapted to individual client’s needs so that they can make a positive return on their energy investments. We offer a free consultation to determine an integrated energy solution using products and services which are financially sustainable for the client. Our experts negotiate with energy companies to guarantee our clients get the lowest prices and best deals.
At Radiant Energy we hope our partnership with our clients also benefits the community through education on sustainability issues. Our customers come from multiple fields so we make it our goal to get past old energy practices so that our clients can become leaders in their respective industries.
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