WASHINGTON – U.S. solar industry employment declined in 2017, while jobs increased in numerous states with emerging solar markets, according to the National Solar Jobs Census 2017, the eighth annual report on solar employment released Wednesday by The Solar Foundation.
The Solar Jobs Census found that 250,271 Americans work in solar as of 2017, representing a 3.8 percent decline, or about 9,800 fewer jobs, since 2016. This is the first year that jobs have decreased since the Solar Jobs Census was first released in 2010.
However, the long-term trend continues to show significant jobs growth. The solar workforce increased by 168 percent in the past seven years, from about 93,000 jobs in 2010 to over 250,000 jobs in 2017.
South Carolina solar-related jobs increased 2 percent from 2016 to 2017, from 2,772 to 2,829, according to the report.
Additionally, solar jobs increased in 28 other states and the District of Columbia in 2017. States with significant job gains include Utah, Minnesota, Arizona, Colorado, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Tennessee.
“After six years of rapid and steady growth, the solar industry faced headwinds that led to a dip in employment in 2017, including a slowdown in the pace of new solar installations,” said Andrea Luecke, president and executive director at The Solar Foundation. “Uncertainty over the outcome of the trade case also had a likely impact on solar jobs growth. At the same time, the fact that jobs went up in 29 states is an encouraging sign that solar is taking hold across the country as a low-cost, sustainable, and reliable energy source.”
The Solar Foundation, a nonprofit educational and research organization, issues the National Solar Jobs Census each year to provide comprehensive and reliable data on the U.S. solar workforce.
Firm expanding in North Charleston
COLUMBIA -- Frontier Logistics, a provider of supply chain management services, is expanding its existing operations in Charleston County with the recent purchase of 26 acres at the former Navy base in North Charleston. The company's $35.5 million investment is expected to create an additional 34 jobs.
Frontier Logistics will be constructing a 400,000-square-foot, rail-served warehousing facility to support the transloading of plastic pellets for export through the Port of Charleston. Rail service will be provided by Palmetto Railways, providing connections to both CSX and Norfolk Southern.
Hiring for the new positions should begin in the fourth quarter of 2018.
Van Dyke’s expanding in Greenwood
COLUMBIA – Van Dyke’s Restorers, Inc., a provider of products for home renovation projects, is expanding operations in Greenwood County to accommodate its continued growth. The company is projected to create 31 new jobs over the next five years.