In 2016, the still-burgeoning solar industry added more than 51,000 jobs to the American workforce, representing two percent of all new jobs.
That number, included in an annual report by the nonprofit Solar Foundation, represents a 24.5 percent increase over 2015, and means that about 260,000 Americans have work in the solar industry (about the population of Orlando, Fla.).
The Solar Foundation’s report means that the solar industry is now the U.S.’s second-largest energy industry after oil and petroleum, which has been steadily shedding jobs across the workforce.
According to the Washington Post, over half of the 51,000 jobs added are in solar panel installation, particularly for residential usage, which might indicate that more Americans have grown comfortable with embracing solar.
Despite the uptick, the industry faces an uncertain future and a possible dip in 2017 as solar investment tax credits begin to phase down. Moreover, the Trump administration has made fossil fuels a top priority of its “America First Energy Plan,” which doesn’t even mention solar energy.
Still, states such as Indiana, Louisiana, Nebraska and Wisconsin (which voted for Trump) experienced a growth in solar jobs, as did 40 other states.
Check out the Solar Foundation’s full report here.