Solar: The Industry for Jobs
The Solar Foundation reveals some promising numbers for the solar industry's job growth rate, including an estimated 24% job growth in the next year.

The solar industry, despite several company bankruptcies in recent months, is shaping up to be a great industry in which to find a job.

The Solar Foundation has issued its National Solar Jobs Consensus 2011, showing that in the past year alone, solar jobs have been growing at a rate of 6.8%.

Compare this to the national average job growth over the past year, which was nearly ten times lower, at 0.7%.

The Solar Foundation surveyed 2,100 solar firms for their survey, reports U.S. News, and of these firms nearly 50% plan to hire in the next year.  Only 3% planned to cut jobs.

Andrea Luecke, executive director of the Solar Foundation, expressed her optimism to U.S. News:

“The solar industry is not only an economic powerhouse, but it’s also a tremendous jobs creator.”

And as she told CNN:

“Despite a struggling economy and the worst recession since the Depression and despite the Solyndra debacle, the industry is experiencing record-breaking trade numbers, record-breaking installed capacity, and record-breaking private investment.”

The industry, CNN reports, is now worth about $6 billion.

U.S. News reported some of the numbers revealed by the Solar Foundation for job growth in the next year.

Installation firms, the article reported, plan to add over 13,000 jobs.  The industry can also expect to see around 3,500 new jobs in the manufacturing sector and an additional 6,000 jobs in sales and distribution.

Overall, it is expected that jobs will grow 24% by August of 2012.

Sungevity is one company that expects to expand in the near future, according to the article.  Tripling its workforce in just one year, the California-based company plans to expand to the east coast.

And Ontility also will be expanding soon.  This company offers training to people entering the solar industry.  Training occurs in many different solar-related fields and at many different experience levels.

That is one of the problems, employers have reported.  These new jobs require a great deal of skill in the industry.

California is leading the nation in solar employment, CNN reported, with 25,575 industry employees.  Colorado follows closely behind, along with Arizona, Pennsylvania, New York, Florida, and Texas, among the states making the top 10 list.

Colorado is where Dow Chemical (NYSE: DOW) debuted the release of the solar shingle, and it is also the location chosen by General Electric (NYSE: GE) for a new solar panel facility.

That’s all for now,


Solar: The Industry for Jobs originally appeared in Energy and Capital. Energy and Capital, a free 3x-per-week newsletter, offers practical investment analysis in the new energy economy.
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