A report called the Solar Jobs Census finds the number of people working in the solar industry in Nebraska more than doubled over the past two years.
Avery Palmer, spokesman for the non-profit Solar Foundation, says Nebraska had 1,585 people in solar jobs last year versus 776 the year before. The study finds one out of every 50 new jobs in the country last year was in the solar industry.
Palmer says, “What we’re seeing over and over is that the price of solar is going way down and solar is becoming more and more affordable and accessible no matter what part of the country you live in, whether you’re in a small town a big city or a rural area.”
The census finds solar employment increased in 44 of the 50 states last year, growing by 25% nationwide, while Nebraska’s increase was a whopping 104%.
“As solar becomes more attractive to homes, businesses and communities, companies are building more projects,” Palmer says, “and they are hiring more people to do the work.” The subject of solar jobs is wide-ranging, Palmer says, and includes far more than the people who install solar arrays on rooftops.
“If you have a big solar project that’s being built out somewhere in the country, you need folks to manage the project and to manage the finances,” Palmer says. “You also need people to do sales, to do the marketing, to do the engineering.”
Palmer predicts steady growth, with an increase of at least 10% in solar jobs nationwide in 2017. California saw the most growth in solar jobs in 2016, followed by Massachusetts, Texas, Nevada and Florida.
Nebraska ranks 32nd nationally for the number of solar jobs, 15th in solar jobs per capita.