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 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:
In March 2018, The Solar Foundation will release an updated, interactive map with solar jobs data by state, county, metro area, and federal and state congressional district. This map will include 52 unique fact sheets on U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Overall job numbers by state are available now.
“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
“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
“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
“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
“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