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US Solar energy jobs on the rise, 35,000 added in 2015

US Solar energy jobs on the rise; 35,000 added in 2015

Employment in U.S. solar energy industry is booming.

A new report by The Solar Foundation, a nonprofit in Washington D.C. reveals jobs in solar have more than doubled in the last five years, going from 93.5k jobs in 2010 to 209k in 2015. Last year the industry added 35,000 solar jobs, an increase of 20 percent from the previous years.

Today, there are more people working in solar than at oil rigs and in gas fields.

"The companies we're working with are begging to fill the [job] slots they have because they're growing so much," says Chris Gorrie, campus president of the Ecotech Institute, a for-profit job training center for solar and renewable energy in Aurora, Co.

Highlights from the 2015 report show:

• Over the next 12 months, employers surveyed expect to see total employment in the solar industry increase by 14.7 percent to 239,625 solar workers.

• One out of every 83 new jobs created in the U.S. since Census 2014 was created by the solar industry – representing 1.2 percent of all new jobs.

• Of the 208,859 solar workers in the United States, approximately 188,000 are 100 percent dedicated to solar activities.

• Wages paid to solar workers remain competitive with similar industries and provide many living-wage opportunities.

• With 119,931 solar workers, the installation sector remains the single largest solar employment sector. The installation sector grew by almost 24 percent since November 2014 and by 173 percent since 2010.

• The solar workforce continues to reflect greater diversity than many industry sectors, but the solar industry still has much work to do to represent the rich diversity of the overall U.S. population. Women in solar jobs increased by 2 percent and now represent 24 percent of the solar workforce.

• In the United States, solar jobs include solar panel installers, designers, engineers, sales and managers.

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