US solar industry lost nearly 10,000 jobs in 2017

In the previous year, 2017 the solar industry of the United States lost more than about ten thousand jobs. The loss in solar jobs was led by great losses in mature markets like Massachusetts and California where the growth in the rate of installation has slowed down to a great extent. This was per the latest reports which were published on Wednesday. This was for the first time that employment has contracted in this industry which is a rapidly growing one since the non-profit research firm named The Solar Foundation started filling jobs in this particular field in the year 2010.

Employment in the solar field fell by 3.8 percent nationwide to about 250,271 jobs in the year 2017 from a high of about 260,077 jobs in the year 2016. The drop was noticed in both residential solar installations and utility scale along with industry irregularities regarding the tariffs on the solar panel that are imported. As per reports, these things were blamed for the loss of jobs in the solar sector.

The reports also mentioned that giving the example of the data of federal jobs that the employment on the solar industry simply outpaces the employment in coal, nuclear energy and wind industries. The number of solar installations in the United States drastically fell in the year 2017 as compared to the record-breaking year of 2016 as developers raced to take advantage of a federal tax credit which was set to expire in the year 2016. The credit was extended by Congress but still it takes some time for the companies to rebuild their projects pipelines.

In addition to this, the demand for the installation of residential systems drastically slowed down in the high performing markets of Massachusetts, California and Nevada because of the incentives which has become much less lucrative. Home solar also received a large setback after Tesla Inc. bought Solar City that resulted in putting the brakes on an aggressive expansion of the installer in part by the elimination of its large door to door sales operation. On the other hand, the solar industry reported a strong growth of jobs in the states of New Jersey, New York, Utah, Minnesota, Tennessee and Arizona. To sum up, there is an expectation that overall solar employment will resume its growth in the next year.

February 20, 2018 - 12:03
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