Below is the response from solar expert, SEIA board member and chief development officer of Standard Solar, Tony Clifford, on the recent news from The Solar Foundation:
“The trade case (and the expectation of the Trump tariff that followed) was the primary factor that caused an actual decrease in the number of American solar jobs,” said Tony Clifford, chief development officer, Standard Solar. “This is what happens when you have a president who inexplicitly allows the interests of two foreign-owned companies to hold the American solar industry hostage, creating volatility and uncertainty in a market that needed steadiness. So, although nothing can destroy the solar industry, these Trump tariff wounds are going to take time to heal - time many of the displaced workers don't have. The worst part is, of course, that it was all so blindingly unnecessary.”
[U.S. solar industry employment declined in 2017, while jobs increased in numerous states with emerging solar markets, according to the National Solar Jobs Census 2017, the eighth annual report on solar employment released today by The Solar Foundation.
The Solar Jobs Census found that 250,271 Americans work in solar as of 2017, representing a 3.8 percent decline, or about 9,800 fewer jobs, since 2016. This is the first year that jobs have decreased since the Solar Jobs Census was first released in 2010.
However, the long-term trend continues to show significant jobs growth. The solar workforce increased by 168 percent in the past seven years, from about 93,000 jobs in 2010 to over 250,000 jobs in 2017.
Additionally, solar jobs increased in 29 states and the District of Columbia in 2017, including in many states with emerging solar markets. States with significant job gains include Utah, Minnesota, Arizona, Colorado, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Tennessee.
California remains the state with the largest number of solar jobs nationwide, but jobs in California decreased 14 percent in 2017. In Massachusetts, the state with the second largest solar workforce, employment decreased by 21 percent. A complete table of solar jobs by state, along with the full report and other background information, is available at SolarJobsCensus.org.]
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