Clean energy policies work for solar industry


More than 8,500 solar installation jobs have been created in the past year and continued industry-wide growth is expected in 2013, according to research from The Solar Foundation (TSF).

The solar industry in the U.S. now employs 119,016 people-- a 13.2 percent employment growth rate over last year. Since 2010, employment in the U.S. solar industry has grown 27 percent -- eight times faster than the overall economy during the same period, in which employment grew by 3.2 percent, TSF research concludes.

Much of the increased demand for solar and, subsequently, increased job growth, can be attributed to smart energy policy.

"[The] increase in demand for solar energy is creating economic opportunities throughout the U.S.," said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association.  "Going forward, we expect a record year for new solar projects and corresponding job growth in 2013. This should serve as a signal to policymakers that clean energy policies are doing what they were intended to do -- grow our economy."

Still, not every subsector exhibited strong job growth. Manufacturing jobs decreased from 37,941 jobs in 2011 to 29,742 today.

"While manufacturer jobs losses are unfortunate, this is a sign of a maturing and highly-competitive global industry. We've seen this consolidation trend in other industries, and we'll see it again," said Resch. "Still, more than 1,000 solar manufacturers operate in the U.S., and with strong demand expected in 2013, they are positioned to make a rebound. This makes it all the more important to continue smart federal and state solar policies that drive private sector investment."

For more:
- see the report

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