With most eyes on the continuing story of the bankruptcy of U.S. solar manufacturer Solyndra, the Solar Foundation of the U.S. has pre-released preliminary data from the National Solar Jobs Census 2011, ahead of the full release scheduled for October 19, 2011. Census 2011 measured employment growth in the U.S. from August 2010 to August 2011 and found that solar businesses added 6,735 new workers since August 2010, representing a 6.8 percent growth rate. When measured against overall economic data from Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc. (EMSI), this rate of job growth outpaced the overall U.S. economy (which grew by 0.7 percent) and fossil fuel electric generation (which lost 2 percent of its workforce).
Notably, Solyndra announced layoffs of approximately 1,100 full-time and temporary employees on August 31st. However, if the New York Times coverage is any indication, the real story of Solyndra is less about the viability of the solar power industry and more about political interference and lobbying in Washington.
A July 2011 report from the European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC) provides good news for the solar energy industry. The 10th edition of the PV Status Report provides data on the solar industry in the EU, India, China, South Korea, Taiwan, and the U.S. It shows that global production of photovoltaics more than doubled in 2010, making it one of the world’s fastest growing industries. The EU has the most PV installations, providing more than 70% of the total worldwide solar PV electricity generation capacity as of the end of 2010. China has become the major manufacturing centre for solar cells and modules followed by Taiwan, Germany and Japan.
National Solar Jobs Census 2011 press release is at:
The Solar Foundation homepage is at:
Solyndra company press release of August 31 2011 is at:
The Economic Impacts of the Solar Photovoltaic Sector in Ontario 2008-2018 is available at: http://www.cansia.ca/sites/default/files/economic_impacts_of_the_solar_photovoltaic_sector_in_ontario_2008-2018_july_26_0.pdf