The Massachusetts clean energy sector enjoyed its strongest growth in 2015 since the state began tracking these jobs in 2010, with the local clean energy workforce expanding this year by nearly 12 percent to 98,900, according to a new report.
The quasi-public Massachusetts Clean Energy Center released its annual report on the industry on Tuesday, showing that jobs have grown consistently for five straight years: The number of jobs in the sector has risen 64 percent since 2010.
Employment growth in the sector occurred throughout the state this year, although in Western Massachusetts jobs increased by only 2.7 percent. The sector now represents 3.3 percent of the state’s entire workforce, according to the report. Slightly more than half of the companies have 10 or fewer employees.
The state’s renewable capacity exceeded 1,000 megawatts of renewable power this year, the MassCEC said, with most of that capacity coming from solar installations.
This growth is being driven, in large part, by state-established incentives for utilities to buy renewable energy and for individuals, businesses, and municipalities to install solar panels, in particular. But the next chapter of the state’s solar incentives remains unclear: Lawmakers were unable to reach an agreement by the time they adjourned from formal sessions for the year in mid-November. There are concerns on Beacon Hill that the solar incentives could be getting too expensive for ratepayers.