January 19, 2016
In Massachusetts, it is a well-known fact that solar does more than help the environment. Solar helps businesses save money, which puts more dollars back into the local economy and allows companies to hire more people – spurring job retention through operational savings. Solar has become so popular in recent years, the industry has been a massive driver of job growth, employing more than 15,000 people throughout the commonwealth.
Two recent industry reports regarding solar job growth speak to the effect of solar on employment in both the state and the country as a whole. The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) commissions an annual independent industry report to examine the growth of the Commonwealth’s clean energy sector each year, and the Solar Foundation conducts an annual Solar Jobs Census to track yearly fluctuations in the solar workforce. Both reports published incredible solar industry growth numbers. In fact, 2015 was the third year in a row in which national solar jobs increased by over 20%, with one in every eighty-three jobs created being a job in the solar industry. 2015 was also the largest single-year of industry growth recorded since the MassCEC began recording data in 2010, with Massachusetts solar jobs growing 33.4% from 2014-2015.
The best part of this growth figure is that solar jobs are wide-reaching and varied; a person can secure a well-paying, stable job without needing an advanced degree or extensive experience. This allows people who might struggle to gain employment in other fields to thrive in a growing industry, bringing economic stability and growth to thousands of families across the state and the nation. According to the MassCEC report, only 1.7 % of solar jobs require an associate’s degree, and only 12.3% of solar jobs require a bachelor’s degree; the remaining 86% of reported jobs are open to any applicant, regardless of education level.
To add to the benefits of solar jobs, they tend to be comparatively well-paying, with nearly all solar installers in Massachusetts making more than $40,000 per year. Hourly wages, too, are relatively high, with 95% of solar companies reporting paying their hourly installers $20 per hour, and 60% of installers earning between $20 and $29.99 per hour. In comparison, the median wage for all occupations in the United States is $17.09 per hour.
While these figures are impressive, what’s more impressive is the result they have on effected communities. With a workforce like we have in the Commonwealth, Massachusetts is setting itself up for massive solar success. Demand for solar energy is growing exponentially, and with an attractive job market, Massachusetts solar companies are able to deliver. In addition, the 15,000 Massachusetts citizens working within the solar supply chain play a big role in supporting our state’s economy.
With these impressive figures, it is not hard to believe Massachusetts is the second largest solar employer in the country, coming in second to “the sunshine state”, California. Massachusetts’ employment rate is a strong reflection of the state’s dedication to furthering the solar industry and its confidence in solar as a viable energy source. For the good of the state’s economic and sustainable well-being, we look forward to seeing this number continue to grow!