Solar in Washington State now employs 3,681 people, a 63% increase from 2015, according to new data released today by the Solar Foundation. The data breaks down solar jobs in Washington by county, congressional district and metro area.
The new numbers come from the Solar Foundation’s 2016 solar jobs census, which shows that solar employment increased 71% in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and 46 % in the Portland-Beaverton-Vancouver, WA-OR MSA from the end last year compared to the end of 2015. In 2016, solar jobs grew in 44 states (including Washington); solar now employs over 260,000 people nationwide.
The growth in solar jobs reflects the growth of solar itself. In 2016, solar was the number one new source of energy capacity installed in the United States. As solar grows, it has also reduced climate-warming emissions and helped to combat air pollution in Washington.
Bruce Speight from Environment Washington released the following statement:
“Lately, Americans have had a hard time agreeing on some important issues facing our country. But I think we can all agree that solar energy is good for our economy, good for our environment and good for our local communities.
“As the numbers released today show, solar continues to grow rapidly throughout Washington, providing good local jobs for Washingtonians that also help to protect the environment.
“Every solar job we add in Washington means we will continue to reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality and protect public health — all while putting people to work in their communities.
“Who doesn’t want more of a good thing? State leaders, by passing the Solar Jobs Bill (HB 1048/SB 5499) and extending the solar production incentives, have the opportunity boost an industry that is creating local jobs and providing more clean energy in Washington.
“Ultimately we know we can and must repower our lives using 100 percent renewable energy in Washington and across the country. We encourage leaders in all sectors to help solar continue to grow and meet this challenge. In doing so, Washingtonians will continue to benefit.”
Bonnie Frye Hemphill, campaign director, Keep WA Solar Strong added: “We’re proud to say that solar is already supporting thousands of jobs in Washington, doing our part for climate action. Our solar program has been enormously successful, but now it’s at capacity, and those jobs are in danger of going away. Right now, legislators have the opportunity to update Washington’s solar program with the Solar Jobs Bill, creating thousands more solar jobs and allowing more home- and business-owners across our state have the chance to own their power.”