First-ever District-level Jobs Census Finds Strong Solar Growth in California

California Solar Jobs Census reports more than 47,000 employed by solar, 20 percent job growth expected in the next 12 months

WASHINGTON, Feb. 11, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- California has nearly five times the number of solar jobs as any other state and solar employment grew by 8 percent in 2013, according to a new California Solar Jobs Census by The Solar Foundation (TSF), an independent 501(c)(3) research and education nonprofit. 

The special California district-level jobs report from TSF's fourth annual National Solar Jobs Census found 47,223 solar workers in California in 2013, an addition of more than 3,500 workers over the previous year. The full report can be found at www.tsfcensus.org.

"California continues to lead the nation in solar jobs," said Andrea Luecke, Executive Director and President of TSF. "The California Census indicates that the future remains bright for in-state job creation, as the industry expects to grow another 20 percent and add nearly 9,000 new jobs over the next 12 months. With that level of optimism, it is clear solar power will continue to play an increasingly important role in California's economy."

The state now employs nearly one-third of the entire U.S. solar industry, with over half of California's solar workers employed in the installation sector. These jobs are particularly well paid, as the average installer wage is reported at $24.26 an hour, $0.63 per hour more than the national average among solar firms in this sector.

"The National Solar Jobs Census report demonstrates that California continues to be a leader in solar energy development," said Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18). "Smart policies and investment are attracting renewable energy projects to our state, driving down costs, and benefitting our entire economy. Just last week, Energy Secretary Moniz announced $30 million in federal funding for solar energy projects, nearly $2 million of which was directed to my Silicon Valley congressional district. Solar energy is a forward-thinking approach to our energy needs that will benefit our communities and our country with a tremendous return on our investments."

"Southern California is rapidly becoming a hub for solar industry job-creation," said Ken Button, President of Southern California-based Verengo Solar. "Verengo has hired 130 new employees in the last year, and there are now 14,000 solar jobs industry-wide in Southern California and the Inland Empire alone. Installation costs have rapidly declined in the past few years, and consumer demand is driving this job growth."

"California has long been a global epicenter for innovation and we're seeing that with the tremendous growth of the state's solar industry," said Emily Kirsch, Co-founder and CEO of SfunCube, an Oakland, CA-based solar incubator and accelerator. "In just over a year, SfunCube has grown from two start-up companies employing 10 people, to a dozen early stage start-ups employing nearly 50."

"For more than a decade, California has led the nation in clean tech deployment and employment and we have California's supportive policy environment to thank in making this extraordinary growth possible.  Smart policies in California are not only accelerating use of renewable power, but they are instrumental in ensuring our energy security and building of a clean tech economy," said solar industry pioneer Dan Shugar, CEO of NEXTracker, a CA-based manufacturing company.   

The greater San Francisco Bay area leads regional employment numbers with 21,653 solar workers in the area. Southern California, including Los Angeles and San Diego, now employs over 10,000 solar workers, with an additional 4,285 employed in the Inland Empire.

"The California Solar Jobs Census is the most rigorous analysis of the size and scope of the solar industry in the Golden State to date," said Philip Jordan, Vice President of BW Research Partnership. "The hundreds of thousands of data points provided by employers statewide allowed for detailed information about the solar workforce all the way down to the assembly district level."

The California Solar Jobs Census was conducted by TSF and BW Research Partnership with support from The George Washington University's Solar Institute. The California report uses the same rigorous methodology as the National Solar Jobs Census. Nearly 4,000 California employers participated in the survey, resulting in 674 full survey completions and a margin of error of +/-3.46%, which is more rigorous than the industry standard for similar studies.

About The Solar Foundation:

The Solar Foundation® (TSF) is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to increase understanding of solar energy through strategic research that educates the public and transforms markets. Since 2010, TSF has published its annual National Solar Jobs Census, which established the first credible solar jobs base line for the U.S. TSF is considered the nation's authority on the solar labor force and advises many organizations on the topic. TSF is also a leading provider of educational materials on the economic impacts of solar for local governments through its work with the U.S. Department of Energy. In addition, TSF chairs the National Solar Schools Consortium, a group of stakeholders seeking to make solar a larger part of the national K-12 system. More at http://TheSolarFoundation.org

About BW Research Partnership:

BW Research is widely regarded as the national leader in labor market analysis for emerging industries and clean energy technologies. BW Research provides high quality data and keen insight into economic and workforce issues related to renewable energy, energy efficiency, transportation, recycling, water, waste, and wastewater management, and other environmental fields. The principals of the firm are committed to providing research and analysis for data-driven decision-making. More at http://www.bwresearch.com/

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Media Contact: Kevin O'Rourke, The Solar Foundation, 240-449-0990, pr@solarfound.org

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SOURCE The Solar Foundation



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