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The Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census 2018 is the ninth annual report on the size and scope of the American solar workforce. Based on a rigorous survey of solar employers, it is the most comprehensive analysis of solar labor market trends in the United States.
As of 2018, the National Solar Jobs Census found:
The United States has 242,343 solar workers, defined as those who spend 50% or more of their time on solar-related work.
Solar employment declined by nearly 8,000 jobs, or 3.2 percent, since 2017. Overall, the solar workforce has grown 159 percent since the first Census was released in 2010, adding nearly 150,000 jobs.
Solar jobs increased in 29 states in 2018, including many states with emerging solar markets. States with the highest employment gains include Florida, Illinois, Texas, and New York State.
With a backlog of utility-scale projects and new policy incentives in key states, the outlook for solar jobs is expected to improve in 2019. Survey respondents predict that solar jobs will increase 7 percent in 2019, bringing the total to 259,400 jobs.
The National Solar Jobs Census also includes:
A detailed analysis of the solar workforce by industry sector (installation and project development, manufacturing, wholesale trade and distribution, operations and maintenance, and other) — and by market segment (residential, non-residential, and utility-scale).
A demographic analysis of women, people of color, and veterans in the solar workforce.
The latest information on wages, hiring trends, education and experience requirements, and other workforce development resources.
For the first time, the 2018 Census includes jobs data for Puerto Rico, which has 1,997 solar workers. With Puerto Rico jobs included, the total number of U.S. solar jobs comes to 244,340.
The interactive Solar Jobs Map includes jobs data by state, county, metro area, and federal and state congressional district. It also features in-depth information on solar jobs by industry sector and solar workforce demographics for each state. View the map now to find out about solar jobs where you live. You can also view 52 unique fact sheets on U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
The National Solar Jobs Census features case studies on select solar companies, providing more detail on the wide range of careers available in the industry and how companies are meeting workforce development challenges.
The Solar Foundation extends its gratitude all sponsors of the National Solar Jobs Census 2018. Without your support, this report would not have been possible. Special thanks to Platinum sponsors Energy Foundation, McCarthy Building Companies, Tilia Fund, and William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; and Gold sponsors Aurora Solar, Solar Energy Industries Association, and Swinerton Renewable Energy. Thanks to Pivot Energy and SunPower for providing a cover photo for the report.
The complete list of 2018 Solar Jobs Census sponsors includes:
“We are proud of the solar job growth in Wisconsin. It solidifies our commitment to getting our state on track for a future driven by renewable energy that will make Wisconsin a stronger, better place to live, work, and play. We look forward to continuing our promise to build a clean economy that incentivizes energy innovation, diversifies Wisconsin jobs and energy sources, and promotes efficiency, affordability, and accessibility in clean energy production.” — Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers
“Colorado has a history of leading in clean energy. We want to build on that leadership by expanding the state’s green economy and achieving our goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2040. It’s imperative for our health, our economy, and our Colorado way of life.” — Colorado Governor Jared Polis
“I’m proud that Minnesota continues to be a clean energy leader in the Midwest. While our solar workforce continued to grow last year, we need to do even more to develop and deploy renewable energy and continue to build a strong clean energy economy in Minnesota.” — Minnesota Governor Tim Walz
“Austin is a proud leader in clean energy. Austin’s growing solar industry employs over 2,000 workers and will continue to create jobs, as we expand the use of solar energy, electric vehicles, and other renewable technologies in order to meet the challenge of climate change.” — Austin, Texas Mayor Steve Adler
“Our actions to reduce Seattle’s emissions and combat climate are creating a stronger economy and a more equitable, healthier city. With over 450 jobs added in our metro area over the past year alone, the growth of solar jobs in Seattle is something to celebrate. We will continue to lead on climate, be a hub for clean energy jobs, and be a city of the future.” — Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan
“It’s a point of pride that Chicago was one of the two leading metro areas for solar jobs growth last year. With over 1,000 solar jobs added in 2018, we’re already enjoying the benefits of a clean energy economy in Chicago. Our commitment to 100 percent renewable energy will help ensure even more jobs growth takes place in the coming years.” — Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel
“When it comes to renewable energy, Minneapolis is not messing around. We are proud that Minnesota ranked #2 for growth in solar jobs in 2017, despite our snowy disposition. To tackle climate change, we have set clear and ambitious goals to get Minneapolis to 100% clean energy by 2030. We know that this goes hand in hand with developing a diverse workforce to meet the subsequent demand for green jobs.” — Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey
“Las Vegas has been a leader in sustainability for a number of years now. With our plentiful sunshine and our deep interest in renewable energy sources, Las Vegas is a natural when it comes to being at the forefront of solar technology.” — Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn G. Goodman
“In Philadelphia, we choose to power our city buildings with solar and help Philadelphians go solar at home through Solarize Philly, because solar is good for the environment, good for our budget, and good for our local economy. The number of people working in solar must continue to grow to meet our climate and poverty reduction goals, and I’m proud to say we are training our workforce for these jobs through programs like the Philadelphia Energy Authority’s Bright Solar Futures initiative.” — Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney
“Google is very proud to be the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy in the world. We deploy solar because it helps the environment and the economy; our total investment in energy from solar and other renewable resources exceeds the amount of electricity used by our operations around the world. An added benefit of that achievement is the enormous job creation that renewable energy deployment spurs – as borne out by the findings of The Solar Foundation’s 2018 Solar Jobs Census.” — Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President of Technical Infrastructure at Google Cloud
“At Target, we are committed to solar and the benefits of clean energy, which drives our goal to install rooftop panels on 500 buildings nationally by 2020. We’re proud to be a partner in helping communities, cities and states reach their clean energy goals with our solar programs.” — John Leisen, Vice President, Target Properties
“Governor Cuomo’s bold leadership on climate change and clean energy has already led to record growth in New York’s solar sector, with 2018 as our strongest year to date. New York’s solar progress is driving the creation thousands of quality jobs all across New York, and as we double down on our near-term solar goals while aiming for 100% clean electricity by 2040, we expect that growth to accelerate and to keep New York at the front of the leadership pack when it comes to solar jobs.” — Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA
“New York City is working to build an inclusive green economy where protecting the environment and boosting peoples’ quality of life go hand-in-hand. We’re proud to have some of the highest numbers of solar jobs in the country and look forward to going even higher.” — Mark Chambers, Director of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Sustainability
“As one of the largest utility and commercial solar contractors in the U.S., we were impacted by several factors that caused market instability in 2018. Tariffs on solar cells and modules, steel, and aluminum increased costs and impacted projects that were already in the pipeline. Despite these economic factors, we began 2019 with a robust pipeline that includes new projects in existing and emerging markets. Together with industry partners, we will continue to advocate at the federal level in support of long-term solutions that support growth for solar energy.” — George Hershman, President of Swinerton Renewable Energy
“This report highlights that in order to continue adding jobs, the solar industry is going to have to work harder to reduce the cost of going solar. Over the past seven years, this was accomplished by lowering module prices and democratizing financing. At Aurora, we believe that over the next seven years, it will come from reducing soft costs, such that solar gets to the point where it is the default option for most homes and businesses.” — Samuel Adeyemo, co-founder and COO of Aurora Solar
“As a leader in renewable energy, E.ON is proud to contribute to one of the fastest-growing industries in the country Our utility-scale approach to solar energy with an effort to continually lower costs, combined with our customer focus, provides us with the tools of success despite challenging market conditions.” — Silvia Ortin, E.ON Chief Operating Officer North America
“Natixis is incredibly proud to work with and support the The Solar Foundation. The annual Solar Jobs Census report is a great means to showcase industry trends, and we are hopeful the the Foundation’s efforts will continue to be transformative in the years to come.”– Jim Roach, SVP of Retirement Strategies at Natixis Investment Managers
“Solar energy continues to be a critical economic driver for the United States, with residential solar leading the way. Sunrun is proud to be part of the nearly quarter of a million high-quality, local solar jobs across the country. These jobs are bringing home solar and batteries to individuals and giving them more control of their energy future with affordable, reliable power for their families and communities.” — Lynn Jurich, Sunrun Co-Founder and CEO
The National Solar Jobs Census has been published each year since 2010. Read these in-depth reports to track solar jobs growth over the past decade, along with supplementary reports on state job data and national economic impacts.