The "National Solar Job Census 2010: A Review of the U.S. Solar Workforce" is a first-of-its-kind report that quantifies the current employment and projected growth rate of the United States' solar energy industry. The Census' study is based on a statistically valid sampling of 2,400 solar companies throughout the nation. The Solar Foundation, Green LMI Consulting, and Cornell University among others surveyed the companies and concluded that the solar energy industry expects to increase their workforce by 26 percent in the next year.
Presently, with the United States still undergoing a recession and with the general economy's growth rate anticipated at a gloomy 2 percent, the solar energy industry is expecting a rapid increase in their workforce in the next twelve months. There are currently 16,700 solar employment sites, and over 50 percent of them are looking to hire new employees in the next year. There are also 93,000 solar energy-related jobs and with the expected 26 percent growth rate, 24,000 new jobs will be added to the market, making it a total of roughly 120,000 solar energy-related jobs by August 2011.
Various sectors make up the solar value chain, such as installation, wholesale trade, manufacturing, utilities, and many other fields. There are over 30 separate occupations in the solar value chain. The report also showed how many workers solar energy firms currently employ. On average, fourteen solar workers are employed by solar installation firms. Twenty four solar workers are employed by solar manufacturing firms. Four solar workers are employed by solar wholesale trade companies. Also, four solar workers are employed by utility companies that generate solar electric power. These numbers are anticipated to increase within the next year.
Many solar companies are creating new innovations that make solar energy a part of everyday usage. For example PREEcharge, an innovation by GoSolarUSA, is a protective skin that utilizes solar cells and wireless radio-frequency antennas to charge smart phones and tablet computers. With almost 50 percent of Americans using smart phones, innovations such as this will drive the solar industry's growth.
A huge effort is being made by states across the nation to increase the solar industry's workforce. California is the leader in the renewable energy field and is home to about 30 percent of all solar companies in the United States. Other states, such as Colorado, Pennsylvania, Texas, Michigan, and Arizona report either large numbers of solar companies or large numbers of workers at solar-related firms.
The findings from the National Solar Jobs Census report illustrate that the solar industry is a strong and growing sector responsible for thousands of new jobs across every state in the nation. The growth of the industry is providing much needed job creation in a time of historic economic and workforce downturn. The optimism of solar employers in the midst of these conditions illustrates that job growth should continue for years to come.
Certificated training, such as solar sales force training, solar panel installation training, solar photovoltaic (PV) training, and solar marketing training, is imperative if one wants to enter the solar energy industry. The American Institute of Renewable Energy (AIRE) offers training to those wanting to enter the solar energy industry. AIRE offers a state-of-the-art on-site solar training
facility and free renewable energy seminars to those who are interested.