NEW MEXICO – Picuris Pueblo last year installed a 1-megawatt solar array. Growth has slowed, and employment in the industry has fallen over the past year.
Federal tariffs on solar cell imports and shifting market dynamics have markedly slowed industry growth over the past two years, nationally and in New Mexico.
Solar employment nationwide fell by 3.2% last year, down about 8,000 jobs, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Solar Foundation’s annual Solar Jobs Census, released in February.
New Mexico was hit particularly hard, losing 354 jobs, or 14% of its workforce, according to a state-by-state follow-up analysis the foundation published last week.
All told, solar employment statewide has plummeted by 26% since 2016, from a peak of about 2,930 people that year to about 2,170 in December.
Industry leaders generally blame a 30% tariff that President Donald Trump slapped on imports from China and other Asian countries in January 2018.