“Solar power is a key component of our all-of-the-above approach to American energy, creating good-paying American jobs that support our growing clean energy economy. According to a new report released by the Solar Foundation today, the solar industry is continuing its rapid growth, with more than 170,000 Americans employed throughout the U.S. solar supply chain. In the last year alone, the industry added more than 31,000 jobs – accounting for one out of every 78 new jobs created in the U.S. This diverse and vibrant workforce is vital to achieving the President’s goal of doubling electricity generation from renewable sources yet again by 2020.”
In the utility-scale market, the Energy Department’s Loan Program has helped build a strong foundation for photovoltaic solar generation in the United States. The program financed the first five utility-scale PV projects larger than 100 megawatts in the United States, which helped prove that the technology is viable and cost-effective at commercial scale. Since our initial investments, a number of new utility-scale projects larger than 100 megawatts have been financed by the private sector without assistance from the Department’s Loan Programs Office.
The Energy Department’s SunShot Initiative is also working to make solar energy cost-competitive with traditional energy sources by the end of the decade, and through partnerships with industry, universities, communities and the Department’s national laboratories, the initiative is more than halfway to its goal. To support the continued growth of the solar industry, the initiative’s Solar Instructor Training Network supports training programs at community colleges across the country that will assist 50,000 workers in their effort to enter the solar industry by 2020. Already, the existing network of nearly 400 community colleges in 49 states has trained over 30,000 people since 2010.