The State of Pennsylvania experienced an impressive 23% growth in solar-related jobs during 2016, according to data from the latest National Solar Jobs Census.
The annual report estimates that more than 500 jobs were created in Pennsylvania’s growing solar industry over the past year as PA’s solar industry now employs approximately 3,061 workers. This exciting news comes after Pennsylvania experienced three consecutive years of negative job growth in the solar industry.
About The National Solar Jobs Census
The National Solar Jobs Census is an annual industry report released by The Solar Foundation that tracks changes and analyzes trends in the U.S. solar industry. In addition to estimating the total number of solar jobs in America, the Census also surveys employers in the industry to get a sense of the overall outlook for the future of the industry.
Getting Into The Numbers
According to this year’s report, the U.S. solar industry outpaced most other sectors of the economy with solar jobs growing by 24.5% and accounting for approximately 2% of all jobs created in America over the past year.
As of November 2016, the solar industry employed an estimated 260,077 workers – a number that has consistently grown since 2010.
The Solar Foundation’s president, Andrea Luecke, attributed the impressive growth in the solar industry over the past year to a “rapid decrease in the cost of solar panels and unprecedented consumer demand for solar installations.”
Even more encouraging is the future outlook among those currently working in the solar industry. According to surveys taken as part of the National Solar Jobs Census, employers in the U.S. solar industry are expecting job growth to continue at a rate of approximately 10% over the next 12 months.
The Future Of Pennsylvania’s Solar Industry
The future looks bright for Pennsylvania’s solar industry. After experiencing three years of negative job growth in the solar industry, Pennsylvania saw the number of solar-related jobs grow by 23% last year as the adoption of solar technology has become increasingly popular.
Industry experts say that Pennsylvania’s attractive solar incentives and its continued effort to promote clean energy will help drive the adoption of solar technology throughout the state over the next few years.
Pennsylvania’s Solar Energy Incentives
One of the key initiatives that has helped propel solar installations in Pennsylvania over recent years is the state’s “Sunshine Solar Program,” a financial incentive that provides lucrative rebates for homeowners and business owners who make the switch to solar.
PA’s Sunshine Solar Program pays homeowners the lesser of $7,500 or 35% of the installed costs for residential systems and pays business owners the lesser of $52,500 or 35 percent of installed costs for commercial systems.
New Solar Programs & Future Initiatives
Pennsylvania’s solar industry just had a great year with more than 500 employees joining the workforce, but those at the forefront of PA’s solar efforts understand that now is not the time to get complacent. As a result, further steps are being taken to continue Pennsylvania’s recent success and help the state become a leader in the U.S. solar industry.
‘Finding Pennsylvania’s Solar Future’ Program To Increase State’s Solar Capacity
Governor Tom Wolf recently launched a project that aims to lower costs and barriers associated with solar technology adoption while increasing the alternative energy’s role in the Pennsylvania’s economy.
The new project, called “Finding Pennsylvania’s Solar Future,” is being led by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) with the help of a $550,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Among other objectives, this new initiative aims to increase solar-generated electricity sales in Pennsylvania to account for at least 10 percent by 2030.
“This is an important step-forward for us to better understand how we can increase Pennsylvania’s solar footprint long-term, which will provide more options for consumers and decrease emissions,” said Governor Wolf. “Alternative energy and lower-emission fuels like natural gas will help to decrease the impacts of climate change, which we know will have negative impacts on our air, our health and important industries, including agriculture and tourism.”