GRAPH: More Solar Means More Jobs
What was the correlation in 2011 between solar generation and solar industry-related jobs? According to the scatterplot of several large solar-producing states below, the relationship was 0.81—a very high correlation coefficient. Put another way, the data below tells us that for every additional gigawatt-hour of solar energy generated from photovoltaic panels and utility-scale solar thermal, about 670 new jobs were created over the year in sectors spanning manufacturing, installation, sales & distribution, and others (y=(38*x)+670). This exact correlation will not hold into the future, as various states have unique regulatory incentives, legal constraints, and political tendencies that alter the proportional mix of PV-generation and large-scale solar thermal—but as a snapshot of 2011, the take-away is clear: more solar = more jobs.
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Table 1.20.B: Net Generation From Solar, 2012. And, The Solar Foundation, National Solar Job Census, 2011.