After 6.7% Job Decline In 2020, Where Does US Solar Industry Stand?

Year 2020 saw significant workforce reductions in nearly all sectors due to COVID-triggered shutdowns, and the solar industry wasn’t an exception.

Despite record installations of solar capacity last year, the United States recorded 6.7 per cent year-over-year (YoY) dip in the solar industry’s total workforce, according to the data recorded in National Solar Jobs Census 2020.

The census, complied by The Solar Foundation, also found that jobs in the solar industry saw a steep rise between 2010 and 2016. Years 2017 and 2018, on the other hand, marked a fall in the total number of solar workforce in the US.

Employment In Solar Industry

The latest figures in National Solar Jobs Census, while noting job losses, also points toward the increased productivity of labor across market segments.

As for the solar industry, The Solar Foundation claims that it will need to see at least 900,000 workers by year 2035 if the country is to realize President Joe Biden’s goal of generating 100 per cent carbon-free electricity by then.

The report also highlights how jobs in the solar industry have an element of inclusive development. It notes that since 2015, employment in the industry has increased by 73 per cent for African American workers and by 39 per cent for women.

Other positive aspects of employment in this sector include better earnings for solar-focused electricians and construction managers in comparison to their counterparts in other energy sectors.

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Where Does The Solar Industry Stand Overall?

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, solar power accounted for 43 per cent of the new generation capacity in the US in 2020, which was the highest among all sources.

There was also an 11 per cent increase in the residential deployment of solar energy in 2020, as compared with 2019. Non-residential deployment, however, saw a dip of four per cent YoY, which can be attributed to the pandemic-triggered halt in economic activities.

It is expected that solar power will account for 20 per cent of the total power generation in the US by year 2030. That would mean, one in every eight homes in the country will be solar-powered.

With the economy steadily healing and the vaccination drive picking up, it would be time to see how the solar industry fares in 2021.