The U.S. solar power industry continued its hiring spree in 2015, growing nearly 12 times faster than overall U.S. employment.
The solar industry has seen 123 percent growth in employment since 2010, adding 115,000 jobs in that time. Last year, industry employment totaled 208,859, with 35,000 new jobs added in 2015, up from about 31,000 in 2014, according to the annual solar jobs census released by The Solar Foundation on Tuesday.
“Solar is surging,” former U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said in a statement. “Renewable energy employment is on track to transform our world, helping to lessen our reliance on coal and other polluting fossil fuels.”
The foundation had expected jobs in the industry to grow by 36,000, but it missed that projection. Overall, year-over-year employment growth in the U.S. solar power industry was somewhat flat, growing by 20.2 percent in 2015, down from 21.8 percent in 2014. Growth in 2013 was 19.9 percent, adding 23,682 jobs that year.
Solar Foundation Executive Director Andrea Luecke said she did not know why the industry’s job growth was flat last year, but that the pace of earlier hiring may have been tied to the industry’s rush to expand before a 30 percent federal solar investment tax credit expired.