UPDATE: Solar industry employment outpaces the overall U.S. economy

Shutterstock solar workers

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The U.S. solar industry employs 119,016 people across all 50 states, an increase of 13.2 percent over last year, according to The Solar Foundation’s third annual National Solar Jobs Census.

In 2011, there were 105,145 workers, and in 2010, there were 93,502.

Census participants said strong federal policy, such as the solar investment tax credit, was one of the most important factors driving the growth of solar jobs over the past year. Additionally, 33 percent of respondents said the drop in solar energy prices was a primary driver of employment growth. Other factors included state pro-solar policies, including renewable portfolio standards, and the popularity of new third-party system ownership models were other factors in creating jobs.

“The solar industry is creating jobs in America when we need them most,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association. “The rapid growth of jobs in the solar industry clearly demonstrates that smart policies, including the federal investment tax credit, are putting Americans back to work. In addition to jobs, these policies are driving down the cost of solar and providing a clean, reliable energy choice for millions of homeowners and businesses.”

According to the census, solar job growth easily outpaced that of the overall U.S. economy, which expanded by 2.3 percent in the same time period. The U.S. currently has 5,700 MW of solar energy capacity installed, and the industry expects to double its growth from last year, adding 3.2 GW of solar by the end of the year and another 3.9 GW in 2013.

To read the full report, click here.

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