While solar jobs in the state of New York were flat and may have even decreased in 2016, jobs in the field for Westchester County appear to have grown significantly.
New numbers made available from the Washington D.C.-based nonprofit Solar Foundation show Westchester had 785 jobs in 2016, up 28 percent from the county’s total in 2015.
In February, The Solar Foundation’s annual jobs report found that New York had 8,135 solar jobs statewide in 2016, down about 1 percent from the 8,250 jobs in the industry in 2015.
That decrease was credited to some uncertainty in the way the state regulates solar, including net metering, the process by which solar panel owners are compensated for energy their systems produced. The state’s Public Service Commission in March approved new regulations for net metering, which factors in time, location and other benefits to calculate the value of each kilowatt generated by solar, as well as other distributed energy resources.
The Solar Foundation jobs census is based on surveys of close to 4,000 solar operations in the country between October and November 2016. New York has the sixth most solar jobs in the country behind California, Massachusetts, Texas, Nevada and Florida. California has by far the most solar jobs, its 100,000 jobs are about 85,000 more than runner-up Massachusetts.
Westchester is third in solar jobs among all the state’s 62 counties, behind only New York County (Manhattan) and Suffolk County on Long Island.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced in February that about 750 megawatts of solar power have been installed in the state since 2011, a 795 percent increase. The mid-Hudson region, which includes Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam, Dutchess, Ulster and Sullivan counties, had about 163 megawatts of solar installed in 2016, according to state numbers. The region that installed more solar over that time was Long Island, which had 214 megawatts.
You can view the Solar Foundation’s job census numbers here.