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Report: 65 percent growth in solar industry jobs in Virginia in 2016

solarVirginia is one of the fastest growing solar job markets in the country. In The Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census 2016, Virginia is second in the Southeast and tied with Utah for ninth in the U.S. for year-over-year solar job growth.

The Commonwealth is ranked 20th in the country in the total number of solar jobs, with 3,236 jobs – a 65 percent increase from 2015. Employment in the solar industry across the United States has grown more than 25 percent since 2015, and more than 178 percent since 2010.

The Solar Foundation also released city and county solar industry-related job figures in its State Solar Jobs Census 2016. Fairfax County is the top locality in Virginia for solar jobs with more than 460 jobs in 2016, a 47 percent increase from 2015. The Virginia Beach–Norfolk–Newport News and Richmond metropolitan statistical areas also saw significant increases in solar jobs in 2016, with 75 percent and 79 percent growth respectively.

“Today’s announcement is a testament to the great work we’re doing to build the new Virginia economy, one that is less reliant on federal spending and focuses on growth in innovative sectors like the solar industry,” said Governor McAuliffe. “It is clear that Virginia is moving in the right direction, but there is still work to do. I will continue to work with our public and private sector stakeholders to implement policies that will continue to bolster not only our solar industry, but the entire clean energy sector in the Commonwealth.”

“By leveraging key public-private partnerships to grow our energy economy, Virginia now ranks in the top twenty in the nation for solar jobs,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore. “Companies are increasingly demanding more renewable energy options when deciding where to make investments.  Given this growing component of economic development, it is essential that consumers and businesses have access to affordable, reliable and diverse energy resources.  This is part of the Governor’s all-of-the-above energy approach and key to fulfilling the energy policy of the Commonwealth.”

Virginia’s solar industry growth can be seen in numerous areas of the supply chain including nearly 1,750 installation jobs, representing a 46 percent increase over 2015; more than 575 project development jobs, a 108 percent increase; and more than 300 manufacturing jobs, an 88 percent increase. In addition, women represent almost 38 percent of Virginia’s solar workforce, and Latino or Hispanic workers represent 22 percent of Virginia’s solar workforce.

“The solar industry is generating well-paying jobs everywhere from Detroit to Miami to Salt Lake City, and in states from Ohio to Texas to South Carolina to Virginia,” said Andrea Luecke, President and Executive Director of The Solar Foundation. “America’s solar energy boom adds tens of billions of dollars to our economy each year, all while providing an affordable, reliable, and local energy source.”

Virginia has experienced rapid growth in solar deployment since Governor McAuliffe took office.  Over 174 megawatts of solar have been installed since 2014, including an 80 megawatt facility built by Amazon and a 20 megawatt public-private partnership with the Commonwealth, Dominion and Microsoft.  Revenue in the clean energy sector generally has grown four fold in the last three years under Governor McAuliffe to $2 billion.

 

About The Solar Foundation

The Solar Foundation® is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to accelerate adoption of the world’s most abundant energy source. Through its leadership, research, and capacity building, The Solar Foundation creates transformative solutions to achieve a prosperous future in which solar technology is integrated into all aspects of our lives. The Solar Foundation is considered the premier research organization on the solar labor workforce, employer trends, and the economic impacts of solar. It has provided expert advice to leading organizations such as the National Academies, the Inter-American Development Bank, the U.S. Department of Energy, and others during a time of dynamic industry growth and policy and economic uncertainty. Visit us at TheSolarFoundation.org.

The Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census 2016 is the seventh annual edition of current employment, trends, and projected growth in the U.S. solar industry.  To view the full report, please visitwww.thesolarfoundation.org/national.   To view The Solar Foundation’s State Solar Jobs Census 2016, please visit www.thesolarfoundation.org/state.

To view the Governor’s “Energy in the New Virginia Economy” Energy Plan Update released in October of 2016, visit commerce.virginia.gov.

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