The Solar Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to advancing the use of solar and solar-compatible technologies worldwide. We believe that increasing access to this clean, abundant, reliable, and affordable energy source will lift up people’s lives and bring about a prosperous future for all.
Founded in 1977, The Solar Foundation was relaunched in its current form in 2010. Today, we combine decades of experience with an entrepreneurial outlook and a focus on getting things done. While we firmly believe that solar is an integral part of our energy future, The Solar Foundation has no industry affiliation. With our reputation for impartiality and rigorous analysis, we are on the front lines of the change toward a bright solar future.
In November 2020, The Solar Foundation announced that it will merge with the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), creating a single, expanded nonprofit dedicated to the rapid advancement of clean energy. The merger is anticipated to be completed in mid-2021. Read the press release and the Merger Q&A.
The sun is the world’s most abundant energy source. Solar technology is expanding at a breathtaking pace. Solar panels are going up on neighborhood rooftops, big-box retail stores, and in massive utility-scale projects. Solar-compatible technologies like battery storage and electric vehicles are becoming part of the mainstream. Today, there are 2 million solar installations across America, double the number from only three years ago!
Solar technologies will be key to solving the climate crisis. To meet the challenge of climate change, it is a moral imperative to rapidly shift away from outmoded fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas. Solar is our most abundant renewable resource and an essential part of the transition to 100 percent clean energy. While the scale of the challenge is immense, it is an opportunity for us to work together and make a historic transition to a sustainable, low-carbon future.
Solar makes good economic sense. Residents, corporations, schools, and government buildings can realize major savings in their utility bills by going solar. For electric utilities seeking new power sources, utility-scale solar is now cost-competitive with fossil fuels.
Solar energy is a jobs engine. The accelerated deployment of solar technologies has created hundreds of thousands of American jobs. Our National Solar Jobs Census has found the number of jobs has nearly tripled since 2010, and nearly 250,000 Americans now work in solar and storage. These jobs take place in offices, on rooftops, and in laboratories. Solar jobs pay higher than the national average and are available to a wide range of educational and experience levels, both with and without a college degree.
Solar paired with storage provides secure, reliable power. Battery storage technologies are rapidly becoming more affordable, making clean energy available at any time of the day or night. For homes and businesses, solar and storage provides emergency backup generation in the event of a power outage, supplying a critical need during emergencies while helping customers save on electricity bills. Electric vehicles with battery storage provide another opportunity to integrate solar energy into our daily electricity use.
Why The Solar Foundation?
We work to advance solar energy through our essential research products, educational outreach, and leadership.
Research. The Solar Foundation is built on unmatched expertise, with a reputation for high-quality and objective research on solar markets, economic impacts, and the workforce. We publish several acclaimed research reports each year that are widely cited among the business community, nonprofits, academics, policymakers, and the media.
Capacity building. Through educational outreach and expert technical assistance, we work with decision makers in the government, business, and nonprofit arenas to expand solar energy use and promote a strong solar workforce. Recognizing that change often happens at the local level, we engage directly with communities to build support for clean energy and implement optimal solutions for a city, county, metro area, or state.
Leadership. We are a recognized leader in solar that brings together diverse groups to realize ambitious, meaningful, and measurable goals. We build networks to help local governments, nonprofits, businesses, educational, and consumers effectively take advantage of solar and solar-compatible technologies.
Some of our major initiatives include:
Solar Jobs and Workforce Development
Our annual National Solar Jobs Census is the first and most authoritative benchmark for solar jobs research. The Solar Jobs Census counts the number of solar jobs nationwide and down to the state and local levels, while providing comprehensive data on the U.S. solar workforce. It has shown time and again that solar is a leading source of job growth in the 21st century.
We publish the Solar Industry Diversity Study, which provides in-depth data on diversity and inclusion in the solar workforce. First published in 2017, a new edition of this report was released in May 2019. It is part of an industry-wide commitment to make solar jobs accessible to everyone, including women, people of color, and veterans.
The Solar Foundation also leads workforce development programs that connect solar job seekers, training providers, and solar employers. These collaborative initiatives are bridging the gap between supply and demand in the solar jobs market.
We work with local governments across America to encourage solar business development and encourage more homes and businesses to go solar. The Solar Foundation leads SolSmart, a program which provides no-cost technical assistance to help hundreds of cities, counties, and small towns make solar more affordable and accessible. Through this program, we engaged more than 20 local organizations as SolSmart Advisors. In concert with our team of national experts, these Advisors worked on the ground to build public support and implement locally based solutions to advance clean energy growth.
Our solar schools research, newly updated in 2020 by our partners at Generation 180, provides a comprehensive inventory of K-12 schools with solar installations and a how-to guide for schools interested in going solar. Our CivicPACE program helped bring property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing to tax-exempt organizations, such as nonprofits, affordable housing, faith-based institutions, and schools.
Emergency Response and Resilience
Worldwide, large-scale natural disasters linked to climate change are becoming more frequent and costly. Devastating fires, floods, and intense storms are taking lives and destroying entire communities. Recent hurricanes across the United States and worldwide have led to humanitarian emergencies and staggering economic impacts.
In Puerto Rico, which is now rebuilding from the 2017 hurricanes, we lead two major programs to help install solar and storage at critical locations and develop a robust local solar industry and workforce. Solar and storage technologies provide immediate relief after a disaster while strengthening the energy infrastructure over the long term.
Help us use solar energy to build a better world. The Solar Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) organization which relies exclusively on grants and contributions from companies, individuals, foundations, and government agencies to support our programs and deliver impact. We need your help to continue making an impact.
Here are a few quick ways you can get involved:
- Support our mission by donating to The Solar Foundation now.
- If your business or nonprofit is interested in a partnership with The Solar Foundation, we want to talk to you! Find out more about partnership opportunities here.
- Sign up for our monthly newsletter to get updates on The Solar Foundation’s research, programs, and events.
Questions or ideas? Contact us now.
Work With Us
The Solar Foundation is an entrepreneurial workplace with opportunities for highly qualified individuals to help advance our solar energy future. Staff members hold substantial experience in the areas of solar market transformation, business development, policy analysis, program design, and communications.
We are committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace where employees from all backgrounds have equal opportunities to succeed. The Solar Foundation has joined over 600 companies in signing the CEO Action on Diversity and Inclusion pledge which includes specific commitments to action.
Learn about open positions here.