The amount of solar energy jobs is increasing in the United States, especially in California where businesses continue to see growth in the solar energy sector. In fact, 1 in 4 solar energy jobs are located in California. Solar jobs in The Golden State have seen a 6.8% growth in the year 2011, and many companies are anticipating as many as 24,000 new solar jobs to be created during the next year. Next on the list of solar job creation is Colorado, which boasts a little over 6,000 solar energy jobs. Many in the industry view this trend as an indicator that solar energy is not only a great source of power, but also a viable way to grow our economy and create American jobs.
Seven American solar panel manufacturers filed a trade case against China last week. The solar industry in China is being accused of “dumping” solar panels in the US for less than it costs to manufacture and ship them. This controversial case is sure to make waves for two reasons. First, it will undoubtedly increase the cost of solar panels, as the Commerce Department is seeking to enforce tariffs on China. The case is also coming behind a highly controversial dealing the government endured with Solyndra; the US gave the now bankrupt company over 500 million dollars. As the solar market in China continues to skyrocket, the American solar trade is striving to keep up and even out the solar energy market.
In Portland, Maine many residents and businesses are taking advantage of the lowered costs of photovoltaic panels. In fact, many are trading in their solar thermal heaters and installing whole-house PV systems in order to heat AND power their homes. Why are photovoltaic systems so cheap? Manufacturing growth both in the US and internationally has driven the prices down, and the continued solar competition will continue to do so in the coming year. Because of this, the cost of PV systems is down 50%, and the trend is expected to continue.
SolarPros will keep an eye out for how this trend is affected by the trade case in China.