By Karen G. Schaufeld
Virginia is moving up in the charts in terms of solar job growth: according to The Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census 2016, the Commonwealth was 9th in the United States (tied with Utah) for year-over-year solar job growth and 2nd in the Southeast.
In fact, according to Governor Terry McAuliffe, Virginia has one of the fastest growing solar job markets in the country. Here’s a snapshot:
- Total number of solar jobs: 3,326, which is a 65% increase from 2015.
- Jobs growth across the supply chain:
- almost 1,750 installation jobs, representing a 46-percent increase over 2015;
- more than 575 project development jobs, a 108-percent increase; and
- more than 300 manufacturing jobs, an 88-percent increase.
- Women represent almost 38 percent of our solar workforce, while Latino/Hispanic workers represent 22 percent.
- More than 174 megawatts of solar have been installed in Virginia since 2014.
- Revenue in the clean energy sector generally has grown four-fold – to $2 billion – in the last three years.
Governor McAuliffe said that solar growth helps Virginia become “… less reliant on federal spending and [more focused] on growth in innovative sectors… Virginia is moving in the right direction, but there is still work to do. I will continue to work with our public and private sector stakeholders to implement policies that will continue to bolster not only our solar industry, but the entire clean energy sector in the Commonwealth.”
Growth in solar jobs is not only great news for those who get them, but also great news for the Commonwealth. With more solar in our energy mix, we can lower rates for customers and create a more attractive business climate for the Commonwealth.