Some 93,000 people were employed in the solar industry in the United States as of August, according to a count by the Solar Foundation, a nonprofit education and research organization. And, remarkably, given the plodding national economy, solar employers expect to boost that number by 24,000 in the next year alone – a staggering 26 percent increase.
What’s making the difference? According to U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, the government’s focus on solar power has a lot to do with it. “Among other things, this study shows that investments made through the Recovery Act — including the $2.3 billion in tax credits to U.S. based clean energy manufacturing — are already generating positive results,” Solis said in a Solar Foundation press release.
The Solar Foundation said it worked on the National Solar Jobs Census 2010 with Green LMI Consulting, with assistance from Cornell University. Of the 93,502 jobs counted, nearly half — 43,934 — were in installation, with 24,916 in manufacturing, 11,744 in wholesale trade and 12,908 categorized as “other.” Photovoltaic installation was expected to be the fastest-growing occupation in solar, growing between 51 and 66 percent over the next year.
The census found solar jobs in every state, but more than a third were in California, far and away the leader with an estimated 36,000. Pennsylvania, Texas, Michigan and Wisconsin followed, in order, each with between 6,000 and 7,000 solar jobs.
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