Solar Jobs Grew Almost 22 Percent in 2014

The newest data from The Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census is exponentially exciting. Led by dominator California, the United States is more quickly solarizing while supercharging the job market.

With 178,807 workers and rising, 2014′s solar sector posted a 21.8 percent employment increase over 2013, growing 86 percent overall since The Solar Foundation started crunching its numbers in 2010. While 28 states increased solar jobs, all of America is struggling to catch up to scorching California, which employs 54, 690 citizens. Every other state in the nation is competing for second place after that, starting with Massachusetts’ 9,400 workers, who leapfrogged last year’s runner-up, Arizona, just shy with 9,170 PV employees.

Meanwhile, the Solar Foundation’s 2014 California Solar Jobs Census found the installation sector claimed 60 percent of its photovoltaic workforce, which grew 15.8 percent over 2013. The Golden State expects to add 9,400 more solar jobs over the next year, and for all of that exponential growth it can thank progressive public policies which more quickly incentivize solarization as global warming comes calling.

“The first to adopt pro-solar policies, California has served as a model for other states for decades,” the Golden State’s census report explained. “Its early support and focus on market transformation continues to pay dividends, as California is expected to have accounted for 46% of all new U.S. solar capacity in 2014, and is home to nearly one-third of all solar workers in the nation.”

You can crunch the numbers for yourself using the interactive maps at You’ll find some alternative perspectives worth analyzing. For example, as hot as California is, Nevada is first in solar workforce as percentage of state employment. Trailed by Arizona and California, Nevada is proving that if you want to build in the desert, you better put solar panels on everything and hire the workers to install them. Indeed, if you scan the map of utility-scale solar projects in the California jobs census, you’ll find photovoltaic farms popping up all along the state’s desertified middle, from top to bottom. Many more are coming.

Because, as far as resilient clean-energy infrastructure designed for a globally warmed future goes, there is just no substitute for solarization.

Both of The Solar Foundation’s reports clearly state that both public and private incentives are political and economic winners. There is literally no downside.

Public policies like California Solar Initiative’s statewide solar rebate program — a “powerful driver of growth” which helped residential installations increase 50 percent over last year — as well as private companies like SolarCity and SunPower, who also supported the National Solar Jobs Census, have their important parts to play. And it is when they all play and work together, in California or in any state, that America begins to look like an international superpower taking global warming seriously. Like Germany, or China, or other countries that are still pretty far ahead in the PV game.

The great takeaways from The Solar Foundation/s dual census reports is that American solarization is obviously capable of setting job markets on fire, and scaling dramatically upward. We just need to light the fuse faster.

This article appeared at Solar Energy