The recent extension of the federal solar tax credit is going a long way toward establishing the United States as a global leader in alternative energy.
Perhaps even more important, however, is the positive effect the extension will have on the U.S. economy. The projected growth in the solar industry will ultimately lead to the creation of thousands of jobs across the country.
According to the most recent National Solar Jobs Census, 2015 marked the third consecutive year in which employment in the solar sector grew by about 20 percent.
The industry is outpacing most others now, creating new at nearly 12 times the rate of the overall economy.
At last count, the industry employed roughly 209,000 workers, and of those workers, over 29,000 were employed in positions created within the past year.
The extended federal tax credit has been a major factor in this job growth.
The Census reports that most solar firms, about 78 percent, noted that the incentive increased their business prospects. The market certainty provided by the tax credit has played a big part in creating this alternative energy workforce expansion.
Over the next five years, it is expected that an additional 220,000 new solar jobs will be created, due in part to the federal tax credit extension.
By 2020, the total number of workers in the industry is expected to top 420,000. That’s more than twice the number of workers we have now!
But job growth in the industry would not continue on this positive path if Congress hadn’t voted to extend the solar tax credit. Industry analysts believe that employment in the sector will be 32 percent higher than it would have been if the credit had expired.
In fact, without the extension, the industry actually would have lost jobs — about 100,000 in total.
So what kind of jobs are available in the solar sector?
Opportunities exist for candidates with advanced technological or business degrees, of course. But employment in the solar field doesn’t necessarily require specialized education or training. Many others find jobs in PV system installation, construction and maintenance, or on the administrative side of the business.
The federal incentive extension is expected to push the industry forward, and we anticipate this will mean the creation of a wide range of jobs. And this is good for all of us!
What’s particularly promising is that many of these new jobs cannot be outsourced to other countries. Designing and installing a photovoltaic system requires site visits, and engineers need to be on hand to manage grid functions. And, of course, staffers are always needed to handle ongoing operations.
Intermountain Wind & Solar is the leading solar specialist in the Intermountain West. Serving Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Nevada and Colorado, our employees handle every part of your system design and installation, and we never subcontract out our work.
Call on IWS today to learn more about photovoltaic energy and how the solar tax credit can help you too!
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