Solar job growth is strong in the U.S., according to The Solar Training and Hiring Insights report , released by the Solar Training Network , a program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative and administered by The Solar Foundation. The report aggregates data from several sources, including an extensive survey of more than 400 solar installers, as well as smaller case studies and in-depth interviews with dozens of solar employers, trainers, and workforce development boards in the U.S. Amongst the findings: Solar employers expect to add 26,258 positions in 2017, a 10% growth in the workforce; the largest growth in the industry has occurred in installation, with 93,199 installation-related jobs added between 2010 and 2016; average wage range for an inexperienced, new installer was $10 – $23, progressing to $20 – $48 for a crew-leader; 77% of industry respondents did not have formal mentorship or apprenticeship programs. The report also provides insight into the prevalence and structure of in-house training programs, and employer attitudes to such issues as the importance of experience and certification in hiring decisions.
The 2016 U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report, released on April 19th by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), states that wind power added jobs at a rate more nine times greater than the overall economy in 2016; domestic wind-related manufacturing jobs grew 17% to over 25,000 factory jobs in the U.S. According to the Association spokesman, “bigger, better technology enables new wind turbines to generate 50 percent more electricity than those built in 2009 and at 66 percent lower cost … With stable policy in place, we’re on the path to reliably supply 10 percent of U.S. electricity by 2020.” Further, “The average modern wind turbine installed here in the U.S. creates 44 years of full-time employment over its lifetime.” The report also emphasizes the importance of jobs and revenues to rural economies, where wind projects are concentrated. Other reports re wind energy: also from the AWEA, a white paper, Wind brings jobs and economic development to all 50 states ; from Navigant Consulting, Economic Development Impacts of Wind Projects released in March 2017 states that “the U.S. wind industry will drive over $85 billion in economic activity over the next four years while wind-related employment will grow to reach 248,000 jobs in all 50 states in 2020.” The Navigant forecasts measure the impact of the extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) programs in the U.S.