Solar industry jobs surged in 2016

According to numbers released by the foundation, Pennsylvania ranked 22nd in the nation in the number of new solar jobs created a year ago.

The Solar Foundation admitted that next year is unlikely to see as much dramatic growth, although total employment in the solar industry is still expected to increase by 10 percent to approximately 286,000 solar workers.

Colorado ranked 10th among the states for jobs in 2016, up from 12th in the 2015 report, when the foundation counted 4,998 people employed in the solar sector across the state.

One out of every 50 new jobs created in the United States past year came from the solar energy industry, and Pennsylvania was one of 44 states to register job gains within the industry.

"The growth of solar was substantial past year in Colorado", said Rebecca Cantwell, executive director of the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association.

"Through the continued development of solar incentive programs, MA is positioned to double the amount of solar for half the cost to ratepayers and maintain our position as one of the best states in the country for energy diversity".

With the Trump Administration's focus on fossil fuel, it's unlikely that we'll see a new federal solar tax credit soon, so utility-scale development will likely drop in 2017.

"Solar is an important part of our ever expanding clean energy economy in Massachusetts, supporting thousands of high-skilled careers across the Commonwealth", Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said.

So, far, Gov. Scott Walker has opposed increasing Wisconsin's Renewable Portfolio Standard, the state's goal for the percentage of electricity from renewable sources, like solar. The solar workforce grew by 25 percent compared to 2015, the largest annual growth rate since the first census was released in 2010.

  • Rogelio Becker