By Andrea Luecke
It’s an exciting time at The Solar Foundation: We’re getting ready for our ninth annual Solar Jobs Census, due for release early next year. The Solar Jobs Census 2018 will offer the latest data on solar jobs, from the nationwide numbers down to the county and district levels.
The solar industry, state and local decision makers, and elected officials rely on the Solar Jobs Census for reliable and authoritative figures on solar industry employment. Time and again, this survey has shown that solar energy is a job creator. Since we released the first Census in 2010, the number of solar jobs in America has nearly tripled, from just over 93,000 jobs in that year to 250,271 jobs in 2017.
To produce another successful report, I need to ask for your help. If you’re a solar employer, complete the Solar Jobs Census survey now. The survey is anonymous and takes about 15 minutes to complete. The Solar Jobs Census is a statistical survey that relies on responses from real people, not economic projections. That’s why your participation is crucial.
The Solar Jobs Census defines a solar worker as anyone who spends 50 percent or more of their time working in solar. That includes not just installers, but manufacturers, distributors, engineers, financiers, and everyone else who is part of this fast-growing industry. We need as wide a response to our survey as possible to make sure the next Census reflects the industry’s full scope and breadth.
Each year we release the Census, we learn more about the solar industry’s economic impact and the shape of the solar workforce. In addition to the national and local jobs numbers, we also break down solar employment by sector; provide information on salaries and difficulty hiring; and include a wealth of other data on today’s solar workers. Our demographics information will include updated numbers on the proportions of women, people of color, and veterans in solar. (And our U.S. Solar Industry Diversity Study, which we plan to update next spring, offers additional data and recommendations on diversity and inclusion.)
The Solar Jobs Census is featured in hundreds of news reports each time it is released, providing wall-to-wall, nationwide coverage of the jobs benefits of the solar industry. Leaders in state and local government rely on the Census data to document the jobs impacts of solar energy in their regions and provide solid data to support future growth.
I hope you can take the time to participate in the Census survey and contribute to a project that impacts the entire solar industry. We are asking participants to fill out the survey as soon as possible and no later than October 31. And one more thing: This work is exceedingly expensive to produce year over year and The Solar Foundation is seeking financial support. If you would like to become a sponsor, please make a tax-deductible donation online or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Andrea Luecke is President and Executive Director of The Solar Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to advancing solar and solar-compatible technologies.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own, and do not necessarily reflect those held by pv magazine.