Solar jobs in Minnesota increased by 73 percent from September 2012 to September 2013, according to recently released “Minnesota Solar Jobs Census 2013” (pdf), an analysis of the Minnesota solar industry prepared by The Solar Foundation. Minnesota solar jobs increased from 500 to 864. In comparison, solar jobs increased by 20 percent in the United States over the same time period, according to the “National Solar Jobs Census 2013: The Annual Review of the U.S. Solar Workforce” (pdf).
The Minnesota census report describes the uptick in Minnesota solar jobs since 2010 as “modest growth” and credits the Xcel Energy Solar*Rewards Program for much of that growth. The report also adds that Minnesota is “on the cusp of a potential solar boom,” predicting the total installed capacity to grow by several hundred megawatts by the end of the decade.
The report says: “Driven by a host of strong pro-solar policies set to go in effect this year, the state is anticipating a nearly thirty-fold increase in total installed solar capacity by the end of the decade. Though the state’s 864 solar workers may seem paltry in comparison with employment in some of the more dominant state solar markets profiled in this year’s state census reports, Minnesota can expect to add a number of new solar workers commensurate with the predicted increase in installations.”
One interesting finding from the report: Seventeen percent of the Minnesota solar workers are veterans, compared to 9.2 percent for the entire nation.