Capitol Hill Briefing: How Many Solar Jobs Were Created in Your State?

Amit Ronen
March 06, 2015

On March 2, 2015, the GW Solar Institute partnered with the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and The Solar Foundation to organize a Congressional briefing on the recently released 2014 National Solar Jobs Census. The Census found that the solar industry added 31,000 jobs last year, accounting for 1.3 percent of all new U.S. jobs, and representing a growth rate almost 20 times greater than the national average. Today, 173,807 Americans are employed in the solar industry, almost twice as many as in U.S. coal mining.

While Census respondents projected that the solar industry would grow over 20 percent again next year, adding about the same number of new domestic jobs as the much larger fossil fuel sector, speakers discussed how pending changes to federal and state policies may affect future growth.

The briefing also provided an overview of the changing demographic makeup of the solar industry. For example, veterans make up one in ten workers in the U.S. solar industry and the Department of Energy recently announced that the first class of Marines has graduated from their solar job training program.

Now in its fifth year, the 2014 National Solar Jobs Census was conducted by The Solar Foundation and BW Research Partnership, with analytic and outreach support from the GW Solar Institute. The report draws on responses from 7,600 U.S. businesses in November 2014.

Speakers included:

  • Andrea Luecke - President and Executive Director, The Solar Foundation (Presentation Slides)
  • Matt Herzberg - Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer, SunEdison (Presentation Slides)
  • Amit Ronen - Director, GW Solar Institute; Professor, GWU Trachtenberg School of Public Policy (Presentation Slides)
  • Michael Carr - Senior Advisor and EERE Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (Presentations Slides)

Video and event materials generously provided by the Environmental and Energy Study Institute