Solar jobs are dropping in California
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, California’s solar power industry has started to shrink after years of steady job growth. The Solar Foundation research group released their annual survey in late January and it found that the number of solar jobs in the state fell more than 13 percent in 2017. The reason for the drop in jobs ranges from issues such as regulatory changes to a long, wet winter that slowed down sales. President Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on imported solar panels that are cheaper and have helped fuel the industry’s growth might also affect the solar power industry. Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of the California Solar & Storage Association lobbying group, stated,
It was a tough year, with all of these things combined. Each one of them, individually, is not the end of the world. It’s the aggregate hitting us all at once.
Luckily for California, it still dominates the solar power industry. The survey counted 86,414 solar jobs in California, which is far more than in any other state and 34.5 percent of the nationwide total. According to data from GTM research, new residential solar installations within the California fell an estimated 19 percent in 2017. California is also moving away from its old system for compensating solar homeowners who export their excess electricity to the grid, which is a system called net metering. The new version is not as generous as the old system and requires shifting to “time of use” electricity rates from their utility company, which adjusts rates that charge customers different prices for electricity based on the time of day. We will have to wait and see if the solar power industry is able to slow down the downward trend that it is facing.