“This is an exciting time for the solar industry in the United States, made even more clear by the latest industry job figures. According to the Solar Foundation, today there are more than 140,000 Americans employed up and down the U.S. solar supply chain and across every state. Since 2010, the solar industry has created nearly 50,000 new American jobs and employment has grown nearly 20 percent in the last year alone.
“President Obama has set an ambitious goal to double electricity generation from renewable sources once again by 2020, and a vibrant U.S. workforce is vital to achieving this. To support a growing workforce and a new generation of clean energy leaders, the Energy Department is providing training and education opportunities for engineers, utility workers and students, as well as supporting projects across the country to ensure America’s continued leadership in clean energy innovation.”
In the utility-scale market, the Energy Department’s Loan Program has helped build a strong foundation for photovoltaic solar generation in the United States. The program financed the first five utility-scale PV projects larger than 100 megawatts in the United States, which helped prove that the technology is viable and cost-effective at a large scale. Since our initial investments, 10 new utility-scale projects larger than 100 megawatts have been financed by the private sector without assistance from the Department’s Loan Programs Office.
The Energy Department’s broader SunShot Initiative is also working to make solar energy cost-competitive with traditional energy sources by the end of the decade. Through partnerships with industry, universities, communities and the Department’s national laboratories, the initiative is more than halfway to its goal. Today, PV modules cost about 1 percent of what they did 35 years ago, and six out of ten major U.S. homebuilders now offer PV as a standard available feature in new construction.
Find the Solar Foundation’s 2013 Solar Jobs Census at www.tsfcensus.org.