Solar energy jobs have grown across the nation over the last year, showing off a positive side to the challenging labor market some Americans face. The LA Times reports that 100,237 solar-related jobs are held in the U.S., according to the National Solar Jobs Census 2011 conducted by the Solar Foundation, a research and education organization.
Employment in all parts of the solar industry — manufacturing, installation, residential, commercial, and large-scale power generation — grew 6.8 percent in the 12 months prior to August. Compare that figure to the 1 percent U.S. employment growth for the same period.
A survey of the industry’s employers indicates that the industry could make an even bigger gain of 24 percent this next year, folding 24,000 new jobs into the workforce. Currently, the Golden State employs about one quarter of the nation’s total solar labor force. Colorado, Arizona, Pennsylvania, New York, and Florida follow. Texas, Oregon, New Jersey, and Massachusetts trail behind, though not by much.