Sunny prospects as Texas climbs rankings on solar jobs

The solar industry in Texas and nationwide continues to add jobs as a rapid pace. [Photo credit: Sean Loyless.]

The solar industry in Texas and nationwide continues to add jobs as a rapid pace. [Photo credit: Sean Loyless.]

John Michaelson

 Public News Service

The future is looking bright for the solar industry in the state and nationwide, with a record number now working in the field. According to Philip Haddix, manager of outreach and policy, The Solar Foundation, solar-industry employment grew by almost 20 percent since 2012, to reach 242,000 jobs across the U.S.

“In Texas, we have 4,100 jobs currently, up from 3,200 last year, which puts Texas at sixth in terms of state employment in solar,” Haddix said.

Average employment overall increased by less than 2 percent during that time. The number of solar companies in Texas is closing in on 300. Most of the related jobs are in installation and manufacturing.

For the purpose of this study, Haddix said, a solar worker is defined as anyone who spends at least half his or her time on related work.

“What we have found in this year’s study and in previous years’ studies is that over 90 percent of those who meet the definition of a solar worker actually spend 100 percent of their time on solar,” he explained, “so it’s a definition we’re pretty happy with.”

Nationally, Haddix said, about half of all solar jobs are in installation, with manufacturing the next biggest sector, accounting for about a quarter of solar-related jobs.

The solar jobs report is available at http://thesolarfoundation.org/solarstates.

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