Solar jobs in the U.S. climbed nearly 20% in the 14 months through November as cheaper panels and rising electricity rates spurred people to turn to solar.
As of November, solar companies had almost 143,000 solar workers on their payrolls, up more than 23,000 from September 2012, according to a report from the Solar Foundation, a nonprofit research group. That job growth is 10 time faster than the national average for job gains.
“The solar industry’s job-creating power is clear,” said Andrea Luecke, executive director of the Solar Foundation. “That growth is putting people back to work and helping local economies.”
The industry is expected to create new jobs in 2014, albeit at a slower pace than 2013. Solar companies are predicted to add 22,000 new positions this year, compared with expected cuts of 8,500 in the sector that generates electricity from fossil fuels.
Businesses and homeowners are increasingly turning to solar to cut down their electricity bills. Solar firms surveyed in the report said that more than 50% of their customers turned to solar to save money, while nearly 23% said they got panels because costs were now comparable with utility rates.
The report said that the cost of solar equipment has fallen about 50% since the beginning of 2010, spurring even more people to go green.
[For the record, Jan 27: The original version of this post said the solar report on industry jobs covered a 12-month period ending November. It actually spans a 14-month period starting September 2012.]
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