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How Many People Does It Take to Develop Solar? Fewer and Fewer

  • Automation, easier-to-install components mean fewer workers
  • ‘It’s a race between market growth and productivity gains’
China's New Solar Policy May Delay India's Plan to Make Panels

Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg


Here’s another sign the solar industry is maturing: it takes fewer people to get a megawatt of panels up and running.

The decline has been steep -- it took 23 people to manufacture, develop and install a megawatt of solar panels in the U.S. in 2017, down from 101 in 2010, according to a report Thursday by BloombergNEF. The changes are due in part to more automated factories, increasingly efficient panels and components that are easier to assemble in the field.