U.S. Solar Industry Jobs Increase 20% in 2013, to 143,000

by Zachary Shahan.

Renewable Energy US Solar Industry Jobs Census
Renewable Energy wins again! US Solar Industry Jobs Census 2013

Originally published on Solar Love.

The Solar Foundation just released its latest US solar jobs census, National Solar Jobs Census 2013. The key finding is that US solar jobs were up to at least 142,698 as of November 2013. That’s about 20% growth since the last solar jobs census, which had data up through September 2012. Overall US employment grew 1.9% in this period, so US solar jobs grew about 10 times faster!

Aside from the above, here are some key findings from National Solar Jobs Census 2013:

  • 77% of the nearly 24,000 new solar workers since September 2012 are new jobs, rather than existing positions that have added solar responsibilities, representing 18,211 new jobs created.
  • This comparison indicates that since data were collected for Census 2012, one in every 142 new jobs in the U.S. was created by the solar industry, and many more were saved by creating additional work opportunities for existing employees.
  • Installers added the most solar workers over the past year, growing by 22%, an increase of 12,500 workers.
  • Solar employment is expected to grow by 15.6% over the next 12 months, representing the addition of approximately 22,240 new solar workers. Forty-five percent of all solar establishments expect to add solar employees during this period.
  • Employers from each of the solar industry sectors examined in this study expect significant employment growth over the next 12 months, with nearly all of them projecting percentage job growth in the double-digits.
  • Approximately 91% of those who meet our definition of a “solar worker” (those workers who spend at least 50% of their time supporting solar-related activities) spent 100% of their time working on solar.
  • Wages paid by solar firms are competitive, with the average solar installer earning between $20.00 (median) and $23.63 (mean) per hour, which is comparable to wages paid to skilled electricians and plumbers and higher than average rates for roofers and construction workers. Production and assembly workers earn slightly less, averaging $15.00 (median) to $18.23 (mean) per hour, slightly more than the national average for electronic equipment assemblers.
  • The solar industry is a strong employer of veterans of the U.S. Armed Services, who constitute 9.24% of all solar workers – compared with 7.57% in the national economy. Solar employs a slightly larger proportion of Latino/Hispanic and Asian/Pacific Islander workers than the overall economy.

Here’s more in a slidedeck shared by The Solar Foundation.

National Solar Jobs Census 2013 from The Solar Foundation

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This article, Solar Jobs Increase 20%, Rise to 143,000 In US, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Renewable Energy Zachary ShahanZachary Shahan is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he’s the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he’s the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.

India plans for 20 GW of Solar says World Bank

by Joshua S Hill.

India intends to ramp up its solar power capacity to 20GW by 2022.
India intends to ramp up its solar power capacity to 20GW by 2020, says the World Bank.

India’s Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, launched in 2010, is “well-poised to make India a global leader in the development of solar power,” says the World Bank. Aiming to install 20 GW of solar power by the year 2020, India is already well on her way, having grown from an installed solar capacity of only 30 MW in 2010 to 2,000 MW in 2013.

Jawaharlal Nehru Solar Mission stages graphic
Stages graphic explains projected solar capacities and costs of India’s Jawaharlal Nehru Solar Mission.

A new report released by the World Bank –  Paving the Way for a Transformational Future: Lessons from JNNSM Phase 1 (PDF) — notes that solar power can reduce India’s dependence on foreign fuel imports, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and contribute to the country’s energy security — all facts that are well known, and not restricted to India alone.

“In a short span of three years, India has made impressive strides in developing its abundant solar power potential,” said Onno Ruhl, World Bank country director in India. ”With more than 300 million people without access to energy and industry citing energy shortage as key growth barrier in India, solar power has the potential to help the country address the shortage of power for economic growth.”

“However, while India is clearly emerging as a global leader in the area of solar power, to achieve its target of adding 20,000 MW of solar capacity by 2022, it needs to address the key barriers and constraints that could come in the way of scaling up the solar program.”

Already Indian solar has seen costs reduced to amongst the lowest in the world, thanks in part to two specific aspects which have minimised tariffs – bundling of solar power with unallocated thermal generation and adoption of reverse auctioning.

According to the World Bank:

Such bundling of solar power with cheaper conventional power helped reduce solar power tariffs for distribution utilities. The reverse bidding mechanism enabled qualified bidders to benefit from declining global prices for solar components, thereby reducing the purchase price of both solar PV and Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) for the utilities.

The authors of the report identified several key observations of the first phase of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM):

IndiaJNNSM

After evaluating the key objectives of the JNNSM, the authors of the report found the following issues “which could prevent the program from reaching, and possibly exceeding, the target of 20 GW of grid-connected solar capacity in the country by 2022″:

  • Lack of adequate participation of Scheduled Commercial Banks (SCBs) in solar financing
  • Bottlenecks in the enabling environment
  • Payment security for future projects
  • Unintended technology outcomes over Phase I
  • Beleaguered local solar manufacturing environment
  • Adequacy of the current approach to developing solar thermal projects
  • Enforceability of RPOs and concerns around solar Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)

Subsequently, the World Bank identified the following issues as requiring closer attention:

1. Increase access to funds from commercial banks and attract private financing

Under Phase I of the program, scheduled commercial banks mostly shied away from lending for solar projects while export credit agencies, multilateral financial institutions, and some nonbanking financial institutions took up most of the financing. However, given that most infrastructure lending in India has been led by commercial banks, the solar program too will need their active participation to scale up to the levels envisaged.

2. Develop shared infrastructure facilities such as solar parks

The provision of publicly developed infrastructure frees private providers to focus on solar power development, increases efficiency, and lowers costs.   Gujarat, for example, was the first state to declare a solar policy (2009) and today, is at the forefront of solar power generation in India. Its first solar park, developed on waste land in Charanka (Patan district), has the largest solar capacity in Asia. The park provides developers with already developed land along with critical infrastructure, including facilities for power evacuation and transmission, roads and water, thereby ensuring the rapid development of solar projects.

3. Use India’s comparative advantage to develop a niche in the manufacturing value chain

India’s solar PV manufacturing capacity is limited and does not straddle the higher technological echelons of the industry. This is because India’s manufacturers lack the raw materials, do not have access to low-cost financing, and face underdeveloped supply chains. In CSP, where local manufacturing is more complex, India has not been able to manufacture some critical components. Either technology suppliers are limited and their products patented or the lack of natural resources poses an impediment. India should therefore seek to define and develop its manufacturing capabilities in specific parts of the value chain where it enjoys a comparative advantage and can emerge as a globally competitive producer.

An earlier ESMAP-World Bank study, Development of Local Supply Chain: A Critical Link for Concentrated Solar Power in India has identified the potential for reducing the costs of CSP components in India through local domestic manufacturing.

This article, World Bank Foresees Potential For 20 GW Indian Solar Future, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

83% Increase In US Solar PV Capacity In 2012

by Nicholas Brown.

ABB solar power plant in Nevada.
ABB solar power plant in Nevada, with a fellow Jamaican who is a technician there. Credit: Zachary Shahan / CleanTechnica (free to republish under a CC BY-SA license as long as credit is provided and the links are not removed)

According to a data book from the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), solar PV generation capacity increased by 83% across the United States in 2012.

The study was compiled on behalf of the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy as part of an annual effort to monitor and promote renewable energy utilization. So far, the effort has shown rapid renewable energy growth, especially wind and solar, but solar exceeded wind even three-fold. (However, it’s worth noting that solar PV started at a much lower capacity level.)

The research also showed that renewable energy accounted for 14% of all electricity generation capacity at the end of 2012, and more than 12% of all electricity generated in that period.

But there’s even more good news. In 2012, renewable energy accounted for 56% of all new electricity generation capacity, that is a very sharp increase from the 2% that it was at back in 2004!

This statistic is particularly useful because it shows how the transition from traditional energy sources to renewable ones is progressing. This shows that the renewable energy industry is no longer just lagging behind the fossil fuel one and only growing due to the country’s population growth, but it is exploding, and it will over at some point.

Renewable energy has been “on its way” for a long time, and now it finally is.

“The Renewable Energy Data Book is filled with information-packed charts and graphics, which allows users, from analysts to policymakers, to quickly understand and summarize trends in renewable energy – both on a U.S. and a global scale,” said NREL energy analyst Rachel Gelman.

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This article, 83% Increase In US Solar PV Capacity In 2012, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Nicholas Brown

Nicholas Brown has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, geography, and much more. My website is: Kompulsa.