Via Slashdot Hugh Pickens writes:
According to Rhone Resch, the last three years have seen the U.S. solar industry go from a start-up to a major industry that is creating well-paying jobs and growing the economy in all 50 states, employing 93,000 Americans in 2010, a number that is expected to grow between 25,000 to 50,000 this year (PDF). In the first quarter of 2011, the solar industry installed 252 megawatts of new solar electric capacity, a 66 percent growth from the same time frame in 2010.
Solar energy is creating more jobs per megawatt than any other energy source (PDF) with the capability, according to one study, of generating over 4 million jobs by 2030 with aggressive energy efficiency measures. There are now almost 3,000 megawatts of solar electric energy installed in the U.S., enough to power 600,000 homes.
In the manufacturing sector, solar panel production jumped 31 percent. ‘The U.S. market is expected to more than double yet again in 2011, installing enough solar for more than 400,000 homes,’ writes Resch. ‘Last year, the industry set the ambitious yet achievable goal of installing 10 gigawatts annually by 2015 (PDF) – enough to power 2 million more homes each and every year.’