It's become an annual tradition here at MREA to celebrate the release of The Solar Foundation's National Solar Jobs Census report, which came out just this week. How do we celebrate? We top off our coffee, read through the Report, and do a happy dance celebrating the growth solar is seeing around the country. Read on for MREA's analysis of the 2019 Census!
This is Part 1 of a 2 part series. Part 1 focuses on national trends from the Census. Part 2, which will be published after The Solar Foundation releases their state-specific data in March, will focus on takeaways and trends specifically for Montana.
15 Facts from the National Solar Jobs Census
1. Solar is a national industry: though market sizes vary considerably, the solar industry has a presence in all 50 states
2. 31 states experienced solar job growth in 2019 (including Montana)
3. The Top 5 solar markets are California, Florida, New York, Massachusetts, and Texas
4. The Bottom 5 solar markets are Alaska, Wyoming, North Dakota, Montana, and Arkansas
5. Solar jobs are competitive, well-paying jobs: Nationally, average wages for solar installers range from $16 (entry level) up to $37.50 (senior-level or crew leader)
6. There is room for improvement in diversifying the solar workforce: between 2018 and 2019 there was little change in the demographics of the solar industry, and there is room for improvement. For example, 26% of the solar workforce was women - which is greater than the 10% in other construction industries, but much lower than the 47% of the overall U.S. workforce.
7. Solar is a local industry: 88% of survey respondents say that they work locally. This means either in-state, within the region/metropolitan area they are based in (59%) or in-state, but outside their region/metropolitan area (29%).
8. Only 12% of respondents said they work out of state.
9. Solar is still a small-business industry: More than a quarter (28.5%) have 1-5 employees
10. Most solar establishments have fewer than 50 employees (75.7%)
11. Solar represents 2.6% of overall U.S. electricity generation, yet trails only the oil/petroleum and natural gas industries in total number of employees
12. In the five-year period between 2014 and 2019, solar employment increased 44% – 5x faster than job growth in the overall U.S. economy
13. The solar industry grew by 2.3% in 2019, rebounding from two years of slight decline
14. Today there are nearly 250,000 solar jobs nationwide, a number that increased 167% over the past decade
15. Montana's solar industry is growing, yet among states ranks 49th in total solar jobs and 43rd in total solar jobs per capita.
Want to learn more about Montana's solar industry trends and the future of solar under the Big Sky? Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series, coming out later this spring, where we discuss just that. In the meantime, you can download summary graphics or the full Census report on the Solar Foundation's website.
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