Last week, The Solar Foundation released its “National Solar Jobs Census 2011 Report.” The new study found that one in four solar energy jobs in theUnited States are held by Californians; and that nationwide, clean tech jobs are on the rise. With 25,575 of the 100,237 solar-related jobs nationwide, California leads the pack and holds four times as many positions as the runner- up, Colorado with 6,186 solar jobs recorded last year.
While the nation continues to struggle with job creation – overall United States job growth was only 1% for the twelve month period ending in August – employment in all areas of the solar industry increased by nearly 6.8% in the same time period; with projected growth of another 24% over the next year, creating 24,000 more jobs.
The release of this study comes on the heels of the bad publicity the solar industry received with the $535 million federal bail out loan the bankrupt solar panel manufacturer Solyndra received last month. Arno Harris, a chief executive at Bay Area solar developer Recurrent Industry stated, “we have to look beyond the failure of one company and see the tremendous success that’s occurring here.”
The Renewable Portfolio Standard, passed in the legislature and signed by Governor Brown this year, requires 33% of California’s energy to be derived from renewable sources. As California continues to push forward with ambitious goals to reach renewable energy usage, solar is proving to infiltrate itself into mainstream markets and as Michelle Kinman from Environment California stated, “the solar industry is not only creating green jobs across California but that the industry is forecast to continue growing at a much faster pace than the overall U.S. economy.”