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More Workers Will Be Needed as U.S. Ramps Up Solar Power Initiatives

The solar industry employs a wide range of jobs in several major industries: research and development, manufacturing of solar materials, construction and operation of solar power plants, and solar installation and maintenance. The number of jobs in the U.S. solar industry grew by 9 percent last year to more than 260,000, with the majority working in installation and project development.

Man on roof installing solar panel

The increase marked a rebound in employment growth in the sector after 2020 due to pandemic-related work disruptions, the nonprofit Interstate Renewable Energy Council said in its annual report. Over the past decade, the number of jobs in the industry has more than doubled from 105,000 in 2011. The solar energy sector is one of the fastest growing segments of the US energy industry, this is mainly due to governments and businesses demanding clean electricity to combat climate change. The industry bills itself as a job creator and has pushed Congress to extend lucrative tax credits that help with manufacturing of solar panels.

California, the nation’s largest solar market, has 29.8% of all industrial jobs (75,712). Other major solar job markets include Florida, Massachusetts, New York, and Texas, each employing more than 10,000 solar workers. Project installation, development and other demand sides account for nearly 77% of industry employment, with solar component manufacturing accounting for 13%. The U.S. industry relies heavily on panels imported from Asia, which have wreaked havoc over the past two years with major supply chain issues. U.S. companies are beginning to realize that manufacturing domestically is something that must be done to expand solar power and reduce greenhouse gasses more rapidly.

“By 2050, around half of U.S. electricity will come from solar energy. Now, we only have about 3%,” stated Fengqi You, a professor of Energy Systems Engineering at Cornell University. “The U.S. is ramping up. We are going to increase solar capacity from 74 gigawatts in 2022 to a projected 1,600 gigawatts by 2050. That means we will need a lot more panels in the next three decades.”

(Friedlander, Blaine. “Cornell Chronicle.” Cornell Chronicle, 9 Mar. 2023. Web. 14 Mar. 2023.

More workers will be needed as jobs in the solar industry grow. Nearly 90 percent of solar companies surveyed last year said it was difficult to find high-quality candidates. 360 Talent Avenue knows the solar industry well; it’s what our business was originally built upon. If you need solar workers, we can source the most qualified candidates quickly. Contact us to learn how we can help with your hiring needs.

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