Rooftop photovoltaic systems have two well-known benefits: providing energy at a lower cost than many electric utility companies, while also having a reduced environmental impact.
However, there is another benefit which is not so obvious but should not be overlooked: the solar power industry has the potential to create thousands of jobs, if not millions, and in the USA it is currently creating more jobs than the fossil fuel industry.
The US solar power industryhas grown at an impressive rate thanks to technological developments which have made photovoltaic technology affordable, combined with government incentives such as the 30 percent investment tax credit (ITC).
These incentives are guaranteed to continue, as the ITC has been extended until the year 2022and President Obama launched the Clean Power Plan last year. Another factor which has driven growth is access to financing options and business models which make solar photovoltaic systems more affordable, such as third-party leasing and power purchase agreements (PPA).
Of course, a booming industry requires more staff year by year, and employment in the solar power industry has grown by 123 percent since the year 2010. In 2015 alone, solar power employment increased by an impressive 20.2 percent. There are now more than 200,000 solar power jobs in the USA, and by the end of 2016 this number is expected to reach 240,000.
Viewed in terms of percentages, the solar power industry is creating jobs 12 times faster than the general USA economy, and this rate will only continue to accelerate as photovoltaic technology achieves widespread adoption.
There are jobs for diverse types of talent in the solar power industry. Most jobs created are in rooftop array installation, but there is also a high demand for talent in areas such as sales, marketing, technical consulting, legal services, contract development, finance and manufacturing.
The fossil fuel industry, on the other hand, seems to be struggling. The global economic downturn has placed pressure on oil and gas firms, forcing them to downsize their operations and shrink their staff. Coal mining has also experienced a slowdown due to the introduction of incentives for cleaner forms of energy.
According to The Solar Foundation, a non-profit solar advocacy group, there are now more jobs in solar panel installation than in coal mining, or oil and gas extraction. The general trend in the fossil fuel industry is contraction: the total number of active oil and gas rigs in the USA dropped by 61 percent in the year 2015 alone. Only a few players in the industry have been able to achieve growth, although at a slow rate.
The combination of affordable equipment, government incentives and ample financing options will guarantee long-term stability and growth in the solar power industry. You can learn more about photovoltaic technology by contacting our experts, who can also help you contact the best solar array installers in your location and provide guidance with respect to state and federal incentives!