U.S. Solar jobs fell with Trump’s tariffs, but these states are adding more

Overall, U.S. solar job numbers fell in 2018 as President Trump’s tariffs on panel imports kicked in, but several states still saw significant growth

WASHINGTON, DC — “Illinois stands out in the 2018 edition of the National Solar Jobs Census, with gains that were second only to Florida in a year when the country went in the opposite direction. Nationwide, the U.S. saw a decrease in solar jobs for the second year in a row, ending with just over 242,300 solar jobs, down 3.2 percent from the prior year.

The report, released Tuesday, shows broad gains across the Midwest in a sign of a shift in the map of the clean energy economy, brought on by price decreases that make solar a cost-effective option even in places nobody would describe as sun-baked. California and a few other states with established solar markets shouldered most of the job losses amid the uncertainty of the Trump administration’s tariffs on solar panel imports.

Total solar jobs fell by about 8,000 nationwide in 2018. The new tariffs were a leading factor in the decline, although they were not as damaging as industry officials initially feared, said Ed Gilliland, senior director of the Solar Foundation, a nonprofit that does research and advocacy in support of the solar industry. The effects of the tariffs were also partially canceled out by falling market prices for solar equipment.”

— Dan Gearino, Inside Climate News

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