Solar leads Q2 US clean tech hiring

Led by solar and wind, US clean energy and transportation companies created 12,582 jobs in the second quarter, with Arizona leading all states for new sector employment, according to a report by Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2).

Within renewable energy, there were 8,760 new jobs led by solar (5,895) and wind (2,750). In manufacturing, electric vehicles led all segments with 2,000 new jobs followed by solar (598) and wind (208).

The report notes that solar generation was the leading US clean energy job creator for the fifth consecutive quarter, sparked by declining module prices and surging private-sector investment.

Arizona, California, New York and Massachusetts led solar sector hiring. Each of these states has strong net metering policies, enabling residents to sell electricity back to the grid.

Developers also continue to rush building utility-scale solar projects before a scheduled two-thirds cut in the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) in 2016.

Wind was also a bright spot led by Vestas’ hiring binge at its Colorado manufacturing plants as the industry ramps to meet demand generated by more flexible eligibility criteria for the federal production tax credit, according to the report.

Industry analysts forecast wind installations will total at least 12GW this year through 2014.

E2 comments that many job announcements it tracked during the quarter fill positions that will help states meet federal carbon pollution standards announced in June.

The federal Clean Power Plan seeks to reduce CO2 30% below 2005 levels by 2030, and each state has the flexibility to determine the most economically effective means of achieving its individual goal.

For example, some governors have said fostering the growth of the clean power and energy efficiency sectors in their states is one of the best ways to both meet the standards and expand economic opportunities.