Advanced energy drives California job creation

A survey has revealed the power of the advanced energy sector, including solar, to drive economic recovery.

According to the results of a survey of more than 2,000 U.S. businesses by the BW Research Partnership, California leads the way in advanced energy (AE) employment in the country and the 5% rise in AE job numbers seen in the state this year was more than double the overall rise in employment in the state, at 2.2% and significantly outpaced the national figure for new job creation, of 1.6%.

The figures, revealed by the Advanced Energy Economy Institute yesterday, show that of the 431,800 people employed in AE in California this year, almost 73,000 were employed by the solar industry, as defined by workers spending more than half their time working on solar.

Energy efficiency

By far the biggest contributor to the sector were the more than 300,000 employees working on building energy efficiency in the state.

With around half of the 43,700 AE businesses in California intending to recruit next year, employee numbers are set to rise by 17% in the next 12 months with 70,000 new positions taking the number of people employed in AE to more than 500,000.

The figures show more people are employed in AE in California than in movies, television and radio; mining and quarrying; the semiconductor industry; or aerospace.

The survey placed California top of the pile in the U.S. for AE employee numbers and joint second – alongside Massachusetts – for the largest percentage of total employees, at 2.4%. Only Vermont, with 4.3% of its workforce employed in AE bettered California which, with an estimated population of more than 37 million, dwarfs the number of residents in Massachusetts – 6.6m – and Vermont – 626,000.