Solar power growth, jobs decline during pandemic

LOS ANGELES - Job losses associated with the COVID-19 pandemic have wiped out the past five years of workforce growth in the solar energy field, according to a new industry analysis.

The expected June 2020 solar workforce of 188,000 people across the United States is 114,000 below the pre-pandemic forecast of 302,000 workers, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, which said in a statement Monday that the solar industry is now losing jobs at a faster rate than the U.S. economy.

In Massachusetts, the loss of 4,284 solar jobs represents a 52 percent decline from previous projections, according to the association’s analysis.

The national 38 percent drop in solar jobs coincides with a 37 percent decrease in expected solar installations in the second quarter of 2020, the association stated. The U.S. is now on track to install 3 gigawatts of new capacity this quarter, and the association said the decrease from the expected capacity is equivalent to the electricity needed to power 288,000 homes.

“Thousands of solar workers are being laid off each week, but with swift action from Congress, we know that solar can be a crucial part of our economic recovery,” SEIA President and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper said in a statement.


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