Solar industry jobs census: Colorado ranks sixth in U.S.

Colorado ranks sixth among the 50 states for jobs related to solar energy, according to the results of a national census of employment in the industry.

Colorado has an estimated 254 solar firms employing a total of about 5,300 people. Moreover, solar energy employers expect to increase staffing by 23 percent by August 2011.

The National Solar Jobs Census 2010 was conducted by the Solar Foundation and Green LMI Consulting with technical assistance from Cornell University.

Researchers conducting the census asked solar companies to report their hiring history and staffing projections. Researchers examined various components of the industry and tracked employment and job growth rates for 31 occupations. More than 2,400 solar companies responded, including 150 in Colorado.

Nationally, the census identified more than 16,700 solar employment sites and a total of 93,000 jobs. Firms responding to the census projected a 26 percent increase in staffing by August 2011.

“This is the first time anyone has tried to quantify solar jobs along the entire value chain by speaking directly with employers or projected with any certainty solar job growth over the next 12 months,” said Andrea Luecke, acting executive director of the Solar Foundation.