By Philadelphia Business Journal

Pennsylvania is the fourth-biggest state in the U.S. solar industry despite a year-to-year decline, according to a report released by the industry group the Solar Foundation.

There are an estimated 4,703 solar industry-related jobs in Pennsylvania, according to the National Solar Jobs Census 2011. That's a drop of nearly 2,000 from 2010 when there were 6,700 solar industry-related jobs that ranked Pennsylvania No. 2 in the 2010 National Solar Jobs Census. There were 750 companies in Pennsylvania listed in the 2011 Solar Jobs Census as having solar industry jobs.

In Pennsylvania, 47 percent of the jobs are listed as installation with 25 percent in sales, 12 percent in manufacturing, 10 percent in research/development and 6 percent listed as other.

In 2011 as well as 2010, California was the top state for solar industry jobs, although the 25,575 jobs in 2011 are lower compared to the estimated 36,000 in 2010. Second on the list is Colorado, with 6,186 jobs, and third is Arizona with 4,786. New York rounds out the top five with 4,279.

Overall, however, the Solar Foundation said the national employment picture was much brighter: Industry jobs rose 6.8 percent, with 6,735 added since August 2010. There are 100,237 workers in the solar industry.

"The solar industry has grown into a major economic force, with more than 100,000 employees in the United States," Andrea Luecke, executive director of The Solar Foundation, in a prepared statement. "We expect even greater growth in the foreseeable future. But policymakers, workforce training providers, and the industry must work together to continue creating good jobs for skilled workers."

The National Solar Jobs Census 2011 was prepared by the Solar Foundation, BW Research Partnership's Green LMI Division and Cornell University.

Copyright 2011 American City Business Journals

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