Now employing more workers than the coal industry, solar represents a growing source of both power and jobs in communities throughout the country. The Solar Foundation, an organization that analyzes the impact and issues surrounding solar generation, just released a report that highlights the 200,000 workers in the solar industry, and the skyrocketing speed by which the industry is growing.
This booming industry is providing state and city officials with the ingredients they need to jumpstart local economies, and to transform where Americans get their energy from. In California, the governor and state leaders mandated that utilities, by 2030, source 50% of their energy from renewables. The result? The state added over 20,000 solar jobs, and has breathed life into the solar industry.
Other states are getting on board, including states in the South, where coal was once king. By pushing residents, utilities, and businesses towards solar, local leaders can obtain real progress in their communities. Jobs, stronger local economies, and lower energy bills are just some of the benefits of going solar.
Solar energy is ballooning across the United States with California and Massachusetts leading the way, according to a Solar Foundation report unveiled Wednesday.
The U.S. solar industry now employs slightly over 200,000 workers, representing a growth of 20 percent since November of 2014. What’s more, last year the industry added workers at a rate nearly 12 times faster than the overall economy.
“We are seeing solar in Arkansas, Virginia, Kentucky, all over the place. Arkansas in fact just broke ground on their first community solar project,” said Andrea Luecke, president and executive director of the Solar Foundation.
The sixth annual report is based on nearly three months of data collection and evaluated figures of 19,000 companies. It’s also more detailed than it has ever been, as it now has solar job data for every state and federal congressional district. “Solar jobs is just a metric, but it’s an important metric. It basically serves as a barometer for understanding whether and where policies are working,” Luecke told ThinkProgress.