Solar industry sees substantial job growth during 2012

A report from the nonprofit advocacy firm The Solar Foundation (TSF) revealed that, during 2012, companies in the solar power industry created nearly 14,000 jobs, or a roughly 13.2 percent jump for the year.

According to the National Solar Jobs Census 2012, the 13,872 positions relate to a number of different capacities, including technical support for solar companies and computer programmers who design the complex systems that operate the facilities. In addition to this year's gains, the nonprofit reported that it had altered its estimates for growth in 2011, changing the number of those employed in the solar industry from 100,237 to 105,145 individuals.

Officials from TSF lauded the results of the yearly census, calling this year's data a prelude to larger gains in the renewable energy market. Andrea Luecke, the nonprofit's executive director, called the solar sector "one of the foremost creators of new jobs in the United States."

"Our census findings indicate that these new jobs are highly skilled in nature, including solar installation, sales, marketing and software development," Luecke added in a press statement. "These new solar industry jobs are sustainable, cannot be outsourced and play a critical role in our country’s economic recovery."

In another sign of solar power's ascendency, fossil fuel-using power companies shed 3,857 jobs between September 2011 and September 2012. That loss accounts for nearly 4 percent of that sector's employees. Additionally, business owners in the renewable energy field reported that declining prices for previously costly machinery were making them more optimistic about future hiring prospects, suggesting that this year's gains could be eclipsed in 2013. will continue to follow and report on these developments as the solar community and other green industrial movements continue to shine.

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