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US solar workforce to get back to 2014 levels due to COVID-19 - SEIA

COVID-19 solar job losses by state. Image by SEIA.

May 21 (Renewables Now) - Solar industry employment in the US is set to return to levels last seen in 2014 because of job losses related to the COVID-19 pandemic, new analysis from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) showed earlier this week.

According to SEIA, the industry's workforce will total 188,000 in June, compared with earlier estimates for 302,000 people to be employed in the same period.

The figures show that there are job losses in the solar sector in all 50 states. In 36 states job losses exceed 30%. In seven states and Washington DC, job losses in the industry are above 60%, with big solar states like New York and New Jersey included in this group. SEIA noted that the rate at which the solar industry is losing of jobs is higher than the overall US eco­­­nomy.

The 38% decline in jobs is in line with a 37% fall in solar capacity to be added in the US in the second quarter compared with estimates from before the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. The country is now set to add only 3 GW of capacity in the period.

The analysis concluded that strategic government action is needed to prevent more job losses in the sector and to recover many of the jobs already lost.

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Before joining Renewables Now, Alex was a UK-focused business news reporter. Now she is covering global news from the renewable energy industry with a special interest in M&A.

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