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.
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 massive utility-scale projects. Today, there are more than a million solar installations and counting across America, and the cost of installations has decreased 70 percent since 2010.
Solar makes good economic sense. Homeowners, businesses, schools, and government buildings can save on utility bills when they install affordable solar technologies and solar + storage systems. Not only does it help the bottom line, but solar power emits no harmful air pollution and helps us lower our carbon footprint.
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 found that solar employment has risen 168 percent since 2010, with more than 250,000 Americans now working in solar.
Solar paired with storage provides secure, reliable power. Solar + storage is rapidly becoming more affordable, allowing homes and businesses to store excess power for later use. Battery storage makes solar energy available at any time of the day or night. Storage provides emergency backup generation in the event of a power outage, supplying a critical need during emergencies and building resilient communities.
Solar is building a stronger electricity grid. A “solar-centered” electricity grid uses our abundant solar resource to improve grid reliability and lower costs for ratepayers. For electric utilities seeking new power sources, utility-scale solar is now cost-competitive with fossil fuels. When the right policies are in place, energy from solar + storage can be sold back to the grid to provide more electricity at times of greatest demand.
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.
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 the nonprofit, business, educational, financial, and consumer sectors efficiently take advantage of solar and solar-compatible technologies.
Some of our major initiatives include:
Solar Jobs Research
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.
In 2017, we published the first annual Solar Industry Diversity Study, which charted the demographics and career paths for women, people of color, and veterans. This report will provide an annual benchmark of solar workforce diversity and recommendations for how the industry can improve.
Solar Workforce Development
We are committed to a strong, growing, and diverse solar workforce. The Solar Foundation leads the Solar Training Network, a groundbreaking workforce development program that connects solar job seekers, training providers, and solar employers. This program is bridging the gap between supply and demand in the solar jobs market.
We work with hundreds of local governments 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 cities, counties, and small towns make solar more affordable and accessible. SolSmart aims to improve the business climate for solar energy and provide official recognition that a municipality is “open for solar business.”
Our solar schools research, newly updated in 2017, provides a comprehensive inventory of K-12 schools with solar systems and a how-to guide for schools interested in going solar. Our CivicPACE program helps 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 are becoming more frequent and costly. The 2017 hurricanes in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands have led to humanitarian emergencies and staggering economic impacts. That year, the United States also saw hurricanes and flooding in Florida and Texas and devastating wildfires in California.
Through initiatives such as Solar Saves Lives, The Solar Foundation is working on research and education to help communities improve resilience as they plan for and respond to disasters. One of the most detrimental impacts of a major disaster is the loss of electricity — especially if power remains out for days, weeks, and months. Solar and solar + storage technologies can be life-saving, helping provide immediate relief for communities while strengthening their energy infrastructure over the long term.
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. Support our mission by donating to The Solar Foundation now.
If you love our work and are interested in working together, we want to talk to you. We offer partnership opportunities for organizations, businesses, and individuals. Learn more or contact us at Partnerships@SolarFound.org.