Blog Posts

Nearly 143,000 and Counting: Updated State Solar Jobs Numbers for 2013

Andrea Luecke, Executive Director and President of The Solar Foundation

February 11, 2014

In late January 2014, The Solar Foundation released its National Solar Jobs Census 2013, showing that the U.S. solar industry employs 142,698 solar workers as of November 2013.  In addition to this important piece of national solar labor market research, we have also continued to focus more heavily on employment at the state level. The release of last year’s State Solar Jobs Map represented our first major foray into developing reliable state-level jobs estimates. Using the latest employment data gathered from the Census 2013 research effort and current information on the number of U.S. solar companies from the Solar Energy Industries Association’s National Solar Database, we have updated the State Solar Jobs Map with 2013 employment figures. In addition to this update, we also performed the first-ever “deep dive” into district-level solar employment in select states using our survey-based Census methodology. 

The State Solar Jobs Map and our Arizona, California, and Minnesota State Solar Jobs Census reports provide a tremendous amount of valuable information. Given this, we thought a blog post showcasing some top-level results would be in order.

Encouraging Solar Development in HOA Communities

Philip Haddix, Project Manager at The Solar Foundation

June 6th, 2013

As part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Solar Outreach Partnership, The Solar Foundation has been active in conducting solar outreach and providing technical assistance to local governments and communities interested in overcoming barriers to increased solar deployment. Today, we are pleased to announce the release of a new resource that represents an expansion in the Solar Outreach Partnership’s efforts to bring more solar to more communities across the nation. 

Homeowners in communities governed by HOAs often run into administrative roadblocks when pursuing their desire to go solar, either discovering that the process of obtaining HOA approval is too complex or that restrictions present in architectural guidelines reduce or eliminate the economic benefit of investing in solar. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: Encouraging Solar Development through Community Association Policies and Processes is a new guide designed to educate homeowner association (HOA) boards and other leaders in these communities on how solar development can occur while respecting other legitimate community interests and without requiring HOAs to further cede their authority to govern.

119,000 Jobs Strong: The Solar Foundation Releases First-Ever Solar Industry Jobs Numbers for All 50 States

Andrea Luecke, Executive Director of The Solar Foundation

April 18th, 2013

Through our National Solar Jobs Census series and other labor market research efforts, we have been working hard to raise public awareness of the employment value of the solar industry. 

To this end, we are very proud to announce that our State Solar Jobs Map (www.solarstates.org) went live this morning. This interactive map provides the first-ever count of solar workers in each of the 50 states and includes individual state profiles containing figures on jobs as well as solar subsector ranks by employment, key solar policies, homes powered by solar, and a handful of other useful facts. Visitors can show their support for solar in their home state by sharing these profiles through social media and email.

Since I feel our map does such a great job telling each state’s story, I don’t want to reproduce the information it contains. What I would like to do in today’s blog post, however, is provide a little bit of analysis.

Supporting a Real Job Creator - the U.S. Solar Industry

By Andrea Luecke, Executive Director of The Solar Foundation

November 14th, 2012 - Cross-posted at Renewable Energy World

After being bombarded with political ads for the past few months, most of us are relieved we no longer encounter them everywhere we turn. But imagine if you heard one like this:

I’m the candidate who can take credit for adding nearly 14,000 American workers in the past year and supporting an industry that has experienced an astounding 27 percent job growth since 2010. I’m creating highly skilled, domestic jobs that pay well. I’m the U.S. solar industry and I approve this message.

After a grueling and largely negative campaign season, this is the kind of positive message Americans want to hear. And it is backed by fact, not spin.

Today, my organization, The Solar Foundation, released its third annual National Solar Jobs Census, which found that the U.S. solar industry now employs 119,016 Americans. That’s an increase of 13,872 workers and a 13.2 percent employment growth rate over the previous year’s total. That’s a job creation record any candidate would love to run on.

Make Hay While the Sun Shines

Andrea Luecke, Executive Director, The Solar Foundation

November 1, 2012

In today’s economy, many people are asking, “Where are all the jobs?” The solar industry, however, could soon be asking a question of a different tune: “Where are all the workers?”

Ironically, one of the solar industry’s chief problems – insufficient workforce training – is a direct consequence of its success. The solar industry continues along its upward trend, outpacing nearly all other industries and creating thousands of new jobs per year as companies expand their workforce to respond to increased solar demand. However, there is, at present, a dearth of trained workers with the requisite qualifications and experience, and many companies will have to rely on poorly trained entrants, whose substandard quality of work will invariably drive up installation costs and cut down on sales.

Solar Jobs - Still an Important Indicator of Industry Success

by Andrea Luecke, Executive Director, The Solar Foundation

September 21, 2012

Mark Twain once declared, “If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're misinformed.” Those of us who follow solar in mainstream media have inevitably encountered both success stories and failures alike.  Unfortunately, the stories of bankruptcies and layoffs have in many ways obscured the terrific achievements and inroads the solar industry has made both recently and over the past couple years.

Is simple clean energy financing on PACE for a comeback?

By Andrea Luecke, Executive Director, The Solar Foundation

February 3, 2012 

In a time characterized by a lack of support for federal clean energy legislation, heavy Congressional scrutiny over renewable energy loan guarantees, and an international solar trade dispute that holds as many as 60,000 American jobs in the balance, it may be difficult for some to maintain a sunny disposition regarding the state of the domestic clean energy economy. However, a U.S. District Court ruling from last fall has breathed new life into a powerful financing program that has been in limbo for the last year and a half.

Keystone XL Pipeline Lacks Foresight on Many Levels

By Andrea Luecke, Executive Director, The Solar Foundation

January 23, 2012 - Reposted from National Journal

The Keystone XL Final Assessment, prepared for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Policy and International Affairs by the consulting firm EnSys Energy, suggests President Obama’s denial of TransCanada’s permit for the pipeline will have almost no impact on U.S imports of Canadian crude oil.

1603 Program, A Proven Job Creator

By Andrea Luecke, Executive Director, The Solar Foundation

December 5, 2011 - Reposted from National Journal

Right now, there are 26 million Americans unemployed, underemployed or discouraged. This is an unprecedented number and over the last two years the unemployment rate has hovered between 9 and 10%. Allowing the Section 1603 Treasury Program, a proven jobs creator, to lapse will place unnecessary cost burdens of solar companies (large and small) and stunt their ability to hire new workers.

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