The U.S. photo voltaic workforce declined in 2020, however the business is hoping for a restoration

This picture shows a team of workers installing solar panels in a home in California.

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America’s solar industry employed more than 231,000 workers last year, down 6.7% year over year, according to a new report released Thursday.

The 2020 National Solar Jobs Census was published by the Solar Energy Industries Association, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, the Solar Foundation, and BW Research and included workers who “spend 50% or more of their time in solar-related activities”.

According to the report, the coronavirus pandemic was “largely responsible for the decline in jobs”. The companies have “not yet fully recovered from the work stoppages in spring 2020 and the economic recession that followed”.

Despite job losses in the sector, solar systems hit a record 19.2 gigawatts in 2020. Labor productivity rose by 32% on the supply scale, by 19% in the residential sector and by 2% in the non-residential segment. The census found that 67% of all jobs in this sector were related to installation and construction.

The report is set against the backdrop of the US targeting “100 percent carbon-free electricity” by 2035 and the Biden administration’s US $ 2 trillion employment plan. The president has claimed the latter will “transform our efforts to combat climate change with American jobs and ingenuity.”

Citing SEIA’s analysis, those behind Thursday’s report said the solar industry would have to hit over 900,000 workers to meet the United States’ 2035 target.

As countries around the world seek to cut emissions and meet the Paris Agreement goals on climate change – a huge task with a number of significant challenges – the number of renewable energy jobs could grow significantly in the next few years .

In fact, in March, the Biden government announced plans to expand U.S. offshore wind capacity to 30 gigawatts by 2030.

In a statement at the time, the White House said that meeting its new offshore wind target would trigger wind investments of more than $ 12 billion a year, create more than 44,000 offshore wind jobs by 2030, and support 33,000 other functions connected to industry.

According to the Global Wind Energy Council, the expansion of the wind energy industry could create 3.3 million jobs worldwide in the next five years.

According to the Brussels-based industry association, the projection includes direct roles in onshore and offshore wind, as well as jobs across the sector’s value chain.

The latter includes jobs in areas such as installation, manufacturing, project planning and development, operations and maintenance, and decommissioning.

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