Nationwide, solar power grew by almost 20 percent in 2013.
“The solar industry is putting people to work to meet a growing percentage of our energy needs with a pollution-free energy source that has no fuel costs,” said Margaret McCall, energy associate with advocacy group Environment Colorado, in a news release.
Solar use has been on the rise across the country and in the state, yet despite Colorado’s solar potential, job growth leveled off last year in the state’s solar industry.
Recent attacks on net metering and other clean energy policies contributing to uncertainty about future policies could have been a factor, McCall said, referring to Xcel Energy purchasing power generated by private solar panels.
Progress on solar power is directly attributable to the commitment by state and their leaders to the development of solar energy. Environment Colorado released a report last year, Lighting the Way, emphasizing that it is not the availability of sunlight that makes states solar leaders, but the degree to which state and local governments have created effective public policies.
“The sky’s the limit on solar power. But to get solar growing in Colorado again, our state leaders need to make a firm commitment to this form of clean energy,” McCal said. “To take it to the next level, we need to rally around a bigger vision on solar while defending and improving the programs that work today.”
The Solar Foundation (TSF), an independent nonprofit solar research and education organization, released its fourth annual National Solar Jobs Census, which found that the U.S. solar industry employed 142,698 Americans in 2013.
That figure includes the addition of 23,682 solar jobs over the previous year, representing 19.9 percent growth in employment since September 2012. Solar employment grew 10 times faster than the national average employment growth rate of 1.9 percent during the same period. Statistics on all 50 states can be found on TSF’s interactive map, available at www.SolarStates.org.
The National Solar Jobs Census 2013 including employment by legislative district, are available at www.tsfcensus.org.