Massachusetts Ranks 10th in U.S. for Solar Jobs

Media Releases

Environment Massachusetts

Boston, MA – Environment Massachusetts today released new data showing that Massachusetts has the 10th most solar-related jobs in the country with approximately three times as many solar jobs now as there were at this time last year.

The new data comes from an annual report by The Solar Foundation, a nonprofit solar education and research organization, which quantifies current employment and projected growth of the solar workforce in the United States.  The report, titled “National Solar Jobs Census 2011: A Review of the U.S. Solar Workforce” shows that hiring in the solar industry is on the rise.  Nearly half of solar employers nationally plan to increase their workforce in the next year, while only two percent expect to cut employment.

 “The sun generates more energy in an hour than all the coal mines and oil wells in the world do in a year, and without dangerous pollution that puts our environment and health at risk,” said Ben Wright, Advocate with Environment Massachusetts.  “This report shows that solar jobs are putting people to work here in Massachusetts and across the country to repower our economy while protecting our environment and health.”

“Massachusetts is in the midst of a solar revolution, with about 60 megawatts of solar power installed statewide today – a 30-fold increase since Governor Patrick took office – and about 30 more megawatts under contract,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr., who attended today’s Environment Massachusetts news conference.  “Our supportive solar energy policy is fueling a sea change in the way Massachusetts people power their homes, public buildings and offices – and in the way they make their living, as more and more solar companies and jobs take root throughout the Commonwealth, helping us build a strong workforce, stake a claim as a national clean energy leader, and fuel change that will benefit our society, economy and environment for generations to come.”

Environment Massachusetts was also joined at the Artists for Humanity EpiCenter today by State Senator James Eldridge and Andrew Motta, the Property Manager of the Artists for Humanity Epicenter.

“Renewable energy, and solar in particular, is a growth industry for Massachusetts,” said State Senator James Eldridge. “By making it easier and more affordable for Massachusetts residents to install solar in their homes, we not only promote clean energy and reduce carbon emissions, but we also help create jobs in solar installation, manufacturing and sales. It’s a win-win situation for Massachusetts.”

As of August 2011, the National Solar Jobs Census 2011 found that here in Massachusetts:

  •    There are an estimated 2,395 people employed in the solar industry, ranking Massachusetts 10th in the country for the most solar jobs;
  • There are 410 establishments employing solar workers.

And, nationally the report found that:

  •  There are more than 100,000 solar workers across the country at more than 17,000 different locations;
  •  This represents an overall growth rate of 6.8 percent over the past year, nearly ten times higher than the national average employment growth rate of 0.7 percent;
  • The solar industry is expected to continue rapid growth over the next year, increasing solar workers by almost 24 percent, or by approximately 24,000 jobs in 2012; and,
  •  This growth represents added jobs across all sectors of the solar industry – from installation and sales to manufacturing and trade jobs.

The survey is an update of The Solar Foundation’s 2010 comprehensive analysis of the U.S. solar workforce and includes information about all types of companies engaged in the production, sale, installation, and use of all solar technologies, ranging from photovoltaics to concentrating solar power to solar thermal systems for the residential, commercial, and utility sectors.

The National Solar Jobs Census 2011 was conducted by The Solar Foundation, BW Research Partnership’s Green LMI Division and CornellUniversity.

Andrew Motta, Operations Director of The Artists for Humanity EpiCenter, spoke at the release about the importance of pairing energy efficiency and environmental awareness with youth education, “Within our LEED Platinum Certified Artists For Humanity EpiCenter, we are honored to have the opportunity to show our teens a world of individual self-sufficiency through paid employment in the arts, and open their minds to the idea of environmental sustainability through careful decisions and personal responsibility,” said Motta.

This growth in the solar industry is the result of policies designed to promote solar as it scales up, including federal incentives, state rebates, and state utility requirements including renewable energy standards.  Massachusetts has numerous state incentives for investing in solar, some of which include the Commonwealth Solar Rebate Program, tax credits, property and sales tax exemptions and state programs like net-metering and the state renewable energy credit market (SREC). 

“At a time when many companies and whole sectors were slowing down, the solar industry has maintained strong growth over the past 12 months and is projected to keep growing at a much faster pace than the overall U.S. economy.  Massachusetts directly benefits from the 2,395residents working in the solar industry,” said Wright.  “We look forward to working with our state’s elected officials and leaders in Washington to make solar a centerpiece of our nation’s energy policy, and to accelerate the environmental and economic benefits Massachusetts will get from further growth of the solar industry. “