The U.S.-based Solar Foundation released its annual National Solar Jobs Census for 2013 on January 27 followed by the State Solar Jobs Map on February 11. According to the Solar Foundation there are now 142,000 workers employed in the solar industry. Employment has increased by 24,000 jobs since 2012 nationally, a growth rate of almost 20% (compared to a rate of 1.9% for the economy as a whole). Employment growth in the coming year is estimated at 15.6%. The average solar installer earns between $20.00 (median) and $23.63 (mean) per hour – comparable to skilled electricians and plumbers in the U.S. Wages for production and assembly workers averaged $15.00 (median) to $18.23 (mean) per hour, slightly more than the national average for electronic equipment assemblers.
California continues to lead the U.S. in the number of solar workers at 47,223. And on Feb. 13th, after more than 3 years in construction, the world’s largest solar thermal energy project went live in California: the Ivanpah Solar Electricity Project, a joint effort between NRG, Google, and BrightSource Energy.
We have no comparable measures for the Canadian solar industry. The latest report appeared in November 2013, from the Renewing Futures research project, which assessed the capacity of Canada’s skilled workforce to meet the labour needs of all electricity-related renewable energy systems, including solar. It estimated that there were 41,000 employees in the entire renewable electricity sector in Canada in 2012. The latest labour market survey conducted by the Canadian Solar Industries Association was published in 2009.
A summary of the Renewing Futures reports appeared in the November issue of Work and Climate Change Report at: https://workandclimatechangereport.org/2013/11/22/a-strategy-for-growth-for-human-resources-and-training-in-renewable-electricity-sectors/
Canadian Solar Industries Association is at: http://www.cansia.ca/market-intelligence/labour-force-market
Press release regarding Ivanpah is at: http://www.brightsourceenergy.com/ivanpah-achieves-commercial-operation#.UwIxw4Uz33V