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Economy Crawls, Solar Industry Soars

Photonics.com
Aug 2011
WASHINGTON, Aug. 23, 2011 — Despite the slow GDP growth of 2.8 percent in the US economy in 2010, the solar market grew 67 percent, soaring to $6 billion and adding jobs at a much quicker pace than the general economy.

In a study titled “National Solar Jobs Census 2010” released by The Solar Foundation, data showed that, as of August 2010, the US solar industry employed an estimated 93,500 workers, which is roughly double the number of solar workers estimated in 2009.

The study also projects that more than 50 percent of solar firms expect to continue adding jobs during 2011, making the anticipated job growth rate in the industry to be about 26 percent (representing about 24,000 net new jobs). This expected 12-month growth rate is significantly higher than the US economy-wide expectation of 2 percent growth over the same period.

“Among other things, this study shows that investments made through the Recovery Act — including the $2.3 billion in tax credits to US-based clean energy manufacturing — are already generating positive results, said Hilda L. Solis, US Secretary of Labor. “The solar energy sector is an increasingly important source of good jobs for Americans. Fostering the growth of this emerging industry will help protect our environment, ensure the US remains competitive in the global economy, and offer great opportunities for the nation's working families."

There doesn't appear to be any other industry that is growing faster. Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) CEO Rhone Resch said that the solar energy industry is now the fastest-growing industry in America, adding that statistics show that for every job created in the solar industry, between 1.8 and 2.8 jobs are created in other segments of the economy.

For more information, visit: www.thesolarfoundation.org


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