The number of people working in solar energy should double between 1978 and 1981 and nearly triple between 1978 and 1983, says a recent assessment conducted by Battelle Columbus Laboratories for the US Department of Energy. Data for the study were collected through a survey of employers engaged in solar energy work.
The study found that in 1978 an estimated 22,500 people were working full-time or part-time in solar energy. Engineers made up the largest occupational group among those doing research and development; skilled workers were the largest group in installation; and unskilled workers were the largest group in manufacturing.
Employment in solar R&D was projected to increase from 1978 levels by 74 percent in 1981 and by 144 percent in 1983. For those solar technologies that are now commercialized, Battelle projected a commercial employment increase from 1978 levels by 137 percent in 1981 and by 203 percent in 1983.