Projections for solar industry sector employment growth.

The solar industry expanded 20 percent over the previous year to employ a total of 209,000 people, according to a detailed census of solar jobs released this week by The Solar Foundation, a nonprofit.

CityLab editorial fellow Julian Spector looks into the report's findings, and explores the economic, social, and political implications for an industry whose trajectory is outpacing the industry's ability to bring on talent. Spector notes:

More and more managers are reporting that it’s hard to find qualified applicants; overall, 24.2 percent of employers said it was “very difficult,” according to the census report. Solar job growth is expected to slow a bit, rising 14.7 percent as opposed to the 20 percent growth of this past year. But that projection was made before Congress extended the investment tax credit through 2021 in a massive year-end compromise. That newfound policy certainty will likely drive a higher rate of growth than the original projection.

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