The US Residential Solar Power Market is adding jobs at an impressive rate, and contributing to local economies. A just released report State Solar Jobs Compendium 2015 by the Solar Foundation shows strong 2015 jobs growth of 20% in the overall solar industry, a rate they claim is 12 times faster than the overall US jobs creation rate. For 2016 they are forecasting a growth rate of 14.7% to a total employment number of roughly 240,000. That's a quarter of a million Americans working in the solar industry by the end of the year!
After having its initial proposal for a 200-megawatt (MW) solar facility in Colorado's San Luis Valley rebuffed on account of noise concerns from neighbors, Houston-based Tessera Solar is trying again. This time, the utility scale solar developer is proposing a 145-MW plant in the same Saguache County region.
In an effort to stimulate manufacturing activity and job creation in California, the California Energy Commission (CEC) is using $13.4 million in federal funds to provide low-interest loans to four manufacturers within the state: Morgan Solar, Inc., Solar Power, Inc., Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide, Inc., and Solaria Corporation.
The Vote Solar Initiative, a non-profit, industry advocacy organization, recently released a report detailing the possible impact of the New York Solar Industry Development and Jobs Act of 2010 (aka the "Solar Jobs Act"), which is currently pending in the state legislature. Among the report's notable bits:
A recent report from a California consulting group indicates that better than 85,000 jobs would be generated if Florida passes a RPS of 20% by 2020, meaning the state would need to garner 20% of its energy (instead of its current 2%) from renewable energy sources by the time 2020 rolls around. The numbers come from an assessment of the number of jobs that would be generated by each megawatt of added solar capacity, times the number of megawatts the RPS would likely add to the state (15-30, and 3,800 respectively). One does wonder if the numbers are a bit inflated--are those 15-30 permanent jobs, or installation-only jobs, and thus 15-30 people could theoretically manage the whole kit-n-kaboodle? (Clearly, you'd need slightly more than a score of folks to install and maintain that many MWs...but 85,000?) Though to be fair, the language does say "jobs" instead of "career opportunities".