The company’s expansion is indicative of what’s happening within the broader solar industry. More than 31,000 new solar jobs were created in the U.S. in 2014 bringing the total to 173,807—a 21.8 percent increase in employment since November 2013, according to a report released Thursday by The Solar Foundation. This is the second consecutive year that solar jobs have increased by at least 20 percent.
The solar industry is still dwarfed by the 9.8 million workers that the American Petroleum Industry says are employed the oil and gas industry. However, the Solar Foundation is quick to point out the industry is starting to surpass some fossil fuel-related job categories.
Solar already employs more people than coal mining, which has 93,185 workers, and has added 50 percent more jobs in 2014 than the oil and gas pipeline construction industry (10,529) and the crude petroleum and natural gas extraction industry (8,688) did combined, according to the Solar Foundation.
One out of every 78 new jobs created in the U.S. over the past 12 months were created by the solar industry, representing nearly 1.3 percent of all jobs created in the country. Solar companies surveyed for the fifth annual census plan to add another 36,000 employees this year.