WASHINGTON, Feb. 11, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- The solar industry experienced record-breaking job growth across the U.S. last year, according to The Solar Foundation (TSF), an independent 501(c)(3) research and education nonprofit. TSF today released new state-specific numbers that show major solar job gains in both traditional and burgeoning markets.
California and Arizona continued to lead the way as the top two states for solar employment, with 47,223 and 8,558 jobs, respectively. The New England region is home to over 25,000 solar jobs, representing nearly 20 percent of the total US solar workforce despite not being among the sunniest regions. Southern states now employ over 22,000 solar workers, and 18 Southern, Midwestern and Mountain states doubled their solar jobs since TSF last reported these figures. Statistics on all 50 states can be found on TSF's interactive map, available at www.SolarStates.org.
"Our state solar jobs research this year clearly shows that solar energy can be harnessed anywhere, and that growth rates are not necessarily associated with geography, total amount of sunshine, or political party," said Andrea Luecke, Executive Director and President of TSF.
"Sunrun added 45 percent more jobs since the beginning of 2013 and our thriving ecosystem of partners employs more than 3,000 people across the country," said Lynn Jurich, Chief Executive Officer of Sunrun. "The home solar market continues to be the fastest growing segment of the solar industry with 50 percent growth since last year. As the industry grows, more jobs will be added to our economy, which means more families being able to take advantage of cleaner and cheaper renewable electricity."
Better-established solar markets like Massachusetts and New York both grew by nearly 50 percent while developing markets in North Carolina and Georgia doubled their solar jobs. Strong policy in Georgia has led to a rapid increase in installation jobs, whereas increasing market maturity led to gains in New York for jobs related to legal and financial services.
"Under Governor Deval Patrick's leadership, Massachusetts has seen tremendous growth across the cleantech sector and the solar industry is booming," said Rick Sullivan, Secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. "This report reflects the increased demand for solar energy supported by nation-leading renewable energy policies. As we work to create jobs and foster innovation, we are also reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions and our reliance on traditional energy sources."
"We're very pleased that California is, once again, the leader in solar job creation. Owing to the positive policy environment in California, our state has a flourishing solar market with great job growth," said Nancy Skinner, California State Assemblymember. "Strong ongoing support by California legislators and regulators will enable the solar industry to continue to be an economic powerhouse."
New solar job creation in North Carolina, Georgia, Texas and Louisiana combined to account for nearly one-quarter of the total 23,682 industry-wide jobs added last year.
"Solar adoption is on an upward trajectory in large part due to innovations from companies like ours that increase efficiency and reliability while driving down levelized cost of energy" said Bob Powell, President North America, SunEdison Solar Energy. "As this latest research shows, there is growth happening across the industry. We're pleased to be at the leading edge of that growth and we look forward to bringing affordable solar power to even more Americans in 2014."
State solar employment figures were generated using thousands of data points from a combination of high-quality sources, including TSF's highly-acclaimed National Solar Jobs Census 2013, the Solar Energy Industries Association's National Solar Database, and other sources. While the margin of error for some of the smaller solar jobs states remains wide, these numbers are believed to be the most credible and up-to-date state-level solar jobs numbers in existence. The National Solar Jobs Census 2013 was conducted by TSF and BW Research Partnership with support from The George Washington University's Solar Institute. The National Solar Jobs Census 2013 and separate district-level Census reports for California, Arizona and Minnesota, are available at www.tsfcensus.org.
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
Media Contact: Kevin O'Rourke, The Solar Foundation, 240-449-0990, firstname.lastname@example.org
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SOURCE The Solar Foundation