The Solar Foundation’s State Solar Jobs Census 2015 has lots of good news… except for Alabama: Alabama’s non-existent or even regressive solar policies have resulted in our “Sunny South” state ranking 50th in solar jobs per capita. (Indeed, as if to add insult to injury, a town called Alabama in New York state is expected to create more than three times the total number of solar jobs than the entire State of Alabama — and recently attracted an additional $10M investment from Korea.)
Alabama currently has 287 solar jobs — approximately half our nearest neighbor, Mississippi (560), and less than one-tenth that of Tennessee (3,798) and Georgia (3,185). Florida boasts 6,560 solar jobs — or more than 20x Alabama’s meager showing. You can see all the states and rankings at Solar Jobs Census 2015.
But the solar report for rest of the U.S. is “mostly sunny.”
The National Census found that as of November 2015, the U.S. solar industry employs nearly 209,000 solar workers, representing a growth rate of 20.2% since November 2014, and 123% since The Solar Foundation first started tracking solar workers in 2010. In 2015, the solar industry added workers at a rate nearly 12 times faster than the overall economy, accounting for 1.2% of all jobs created in the U.S. Over the next 12 months, employers expect to see total employment in the solar industry increase by 14.7% – which is 13 times faster than the U.S. workforce as a whole is expected to grow – to approximately 240,000 solar workers.3 Nationally, solar power currently produces approximately 1% of U.S. electricity generation, but that too is expected to increase in coming years.
You can download the full national report in PDF format.