California, the state shining under renewable energy, has more reasons to smile today: it is home to the largest advanced energy industry in the country, according to Advanced Energy Economy Institute (AEEI).
Also, with 431,800 jobs today, advanced energy is bigger by employment in California than the motion picture, television, and radio industries; mining and quarrying; semiconductors; and aerospace, the survey said.
Overall, building energy efficiency is the largest segment of the advanced energy industry thanks to the state’s policy commitment to energy conservation, advanced building codes, and energy efficiency incentives. More than 300,000 Californians are employed in this sector.
Nearly 73,000 people are employed in the solar industry in California, full or part-time. Growth over the past 12 months has been particularly dramatic, with workers spending more than half their time on solar up 16 percent from last year, AEEI said.
Other advanced energy segments contributing to this growth are advanced grid technologies like electric vehicle and energy storage. Electric vehicle adoption in California is well ahead of the rest of the country, making it the ideal place to provide smart charging programs to integrate electric vehicles and the electricity grid.
Advanced energy jobs grew 5 percent in the past year – more than double the overall state job growth rate, the agency said. AEEI also predicts that the advanced energy industry in the state will grow 17 percent in the coming year and will cross 500,000 workers, based on employer hiring plans.
California also has the largest advanced energy workforce in the country. It is also second in the country, tied with Massachusetts, for percentage of the state’s overall workforce employed in advanced energy, at 2.4 percent. Vermont, the No.1 at 4.3 percent, has a higher concentration of workers in this broad economic sector.
“California is the nation’s leader in advanced energy policy, that much we already knew,” said Graham Richard, CEO of AEE and the AEE Institute. “Now we also know that California is on the way to half a million people employed in the advanced energy industry by next year.”
“Advanced energy companies are not only making California’s energy system better and cleaner. They are also creating jobs and contributing toward economic prosperity for the state,” Richard added.