The future is looking bright for the solar industry in Tennessee and nationwide, with a record number now working in the field.
According to Philip Haddix, manager of outreach and policy with the Solar Foundation, solar-industry employment grew by almost 20 percent since 2012, to reach 242,000 jobs across the U.S.
“Tennessee is up as well,” Haddix said, “with 2,800 jobs this year versus 2,300 last year – 500 additional jobs. It puts Tennessee tied for 12th place, if you were to rank the states in terms of their solar employment.”
Average employment overall increased by less than 2 percent during that time. The number of solar companies in Tennessee is now more than 130, with most of the related jobs in manufacturing, installation and project development.
For the purpose of this study, Haddix said, a solar worker is defined as anyone who spends at least half his or her time on related work.
“What we have found in this year’s study and in previous years’ studies is that more than 90 percent of those who meet the definition of a solar worker actually spend 100 percent of their time on solar,” he said, “so it’s a definition we’re pretty happy with.”
Nationally, Haddix said about half of all solar jobs are in installation, with manufacturing the next biggest sector, accounting for about a quarter of solar-related jobs.
The solar jobs report is available at thesolarfoundation.org/solarstates.