The outlook is sunny for solar jobs in Pennsylvania

After years of lagging behind those in other states, Pennsylvania’s solar industry is making substantial gains to catch up.

Jobs in the state’s solar sector increased by 26 percent to nearly 4,000 people in 2017, according to an annual census released by the Solar Foundation, a Washington-based nonprofit promoting solar energy.

It was the second consecutive year of employment growth after three years of declines, a sign that solar-friendly policies at the state level — and falling equipment prices encouraging more installations — are making their mark.

The gains come as the national solar workforce fell by 4 percent, the first annual drop since the group began releasing job counts in 2010. Some of the leading solar states, including California, Nevada, Massachusetts and Texas, have experienced deep cuts as, analysts said, prices come down and utility-scale solar projects come online.

Larger installers and manufacturers were also cautious in anticipation of U.S. tariffs on solar imports. Last month, President Trump imposed those tariffs, which were as high as 30 percent on solar equipment made abroad.

“After six years of rapid and steady growth, the solar industry faced headwinds that led to a dip in employment in 2017, including a slowdown in the pace of new solar installations,” Andrea Luecke, The Solar Foundation’s president and executive director, said in a news release.

At the same time, Pennsylvania joined an unlikely band of states with relatively small solar industries — among them, Utah, Minnesota, Colorado, Iowa, Ohio and Tennessee — in growing jobs.

“The fact that jobs went up in 29 states is an encouraging sign that solar is taking hold across the country,” Luecke said.... Read the rest of the story on HERE