Sun Shines on Solar Employment

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A picture taken on November 20, 2013 shows solar panels rotating with the sun at the site of the Microsol project in the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) research center of Cadarache in the French southeastern city of Saint-Paul-les-Durance. The Microsol project will produce electricity and drinking water locally through a solar thermal plant. The objective of Microsol is to convert solar heat into electrical energy without using batteries : the heat is stored in the form of hot water at low pressure. 
National Journal
Clare Foran
Jan. 27, 2014, 7:39 a.m.

Jobs in the sol­ar in­dustry grew faster than em­ploy­ment in the eco­nomy as a whole last year, ac­cord­ing to a re­port re­leased Monday by the Sol­ar Found­a­tion, an edu­ca­tion and re­search non­profit.

The found­a­tion’s Na­tion­al Sol­ar Jobs Census 2013 finds that sol­ar em­ploy­ment in­creased by nearly 20 per­cent last year, while the na­tion­al job-growth rate was only 1.9 per­cent. The census found that more than 142,000 Amer­ic­ans are work­ing in the do­mest­ic sol­ar in­dustry.

The census is the fourth in­stall­ment of a sol­ar-jobs tally re­leased by the Sol­ar Found­a­tion each year. It was cre­ated through re­search un­der­taken by the or­gan­iz­a­tion and pub­lic-opin­ion re­search firm BW Re­search Part­ner­ship to meas­ure sol­ar job growth from Septem­ber 2012 to Novem­ber 2013. The sur­vey of 2,081 sol­ar com­pan­ies has a mar­gin of er­ror of plus or minus 1.3 per­cent­age points.

Sol­ar ad­voc­ates poin­ted to the census as proof of the in­dustry’s abil­ity to bol­ster the do­mest­ic eco­nomy.

“The sol­ar in­dustry’s job-cre­at­ing power is clear,” said An­drea Luecke, the group’s ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or and pres­id­ent. “For the fourth year run­ning, sol­ar jobs re­main well paid and at­tract highly skilled work­ers. That growth is put­ting people back to work and help­ing loc­al eco­nom­ies.”

A day ahead of the State of the Uni­on ad­dress, the En­ergy De­part­ment also seized on the num­bers as a chance to tout the pres­id­ent’s clean-en­ergy agenda.

“This is an ex­cit­ing time for the sol­ar in­dustry in the United States, made even more clear by the latest in­dustry job fig­ures,” En­ergy Sec­ret­ary Ern­est Mon­iz said in a state­ment. “Pres­id­ent Obama has set an am­bi­tious goal to double elec­tri­city gen­er­a­tion from re­new­able sources once again by 2020, and a vi­brant U.S. work­force is vi­tal to achiev­ing this.”

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