New Solar Jobs Map Shows Top States, Metro Areas for Solar Workforce Growth
Chicago, Miami, Seattle, and Minneapolis among top metro areas for solar jobs growth
Washington, D.C., March 20, 2019 – The Solar Foundation today released an updated map on the number of solar jobs in every state, metropolitan area, county, and congressional district, revealing how solar energy is supporting local economies nationwide. The interactive map can be viewed at SolarStates.org.
The solar jobs map is a follow up to the National Solar Jobs Census 2018 released last month by The Solar Foundation, a nonprofit educational and research organization. The report found there are 242,343 solar workers in the United States as of 2018. Nationwide, solar jobs declined 3.2 percent from 2017. At the same time, jobs increased in 29 states, including many states with emerging solar markets.
The interactive map includes previously unreleased data on solar jobs by metropolitan statistical area (MSA), county, and federal and state congressional district, along with detailed statistics on the solar workforce in each state. The Solar Foundation also released detailed fact sheets on all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
“States and cities are today’s leaders in the movement for 100 percent clean energy, building the solar workforce that will help America stand up to the challenge of climate change,” said Andrea Luecke, President and Executive Director at The Solar Foundation. “Despite the short-term jobs decline nationwide, it’s very encouraging that solar jobs increased in several major cities last year, and the continued expansion of the U.S. solar industry bodes well for job growth in the future.”
The metro area with the most solar jobs overall was San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, California, with 22,101 solar workers. However, jobs in the region declined by 9.7 percent in 2018. The other top MSAs for the total number of solar jobs include Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, and Boston.
Eight of the top 10 counties for solar employment were in California, led by Santa Clara County with 11,301 solar workers. Maricopa County, Arizona (6,472 jobs) and Utah County, Utah (4,024 jobs) were also among the top ten.
Some of the top metro areas for the number of solar jobs added in 2018 include Chicago, Miami, Seattle, and Minneapolis-Saint Paul, among others (see chart).
At the state level, California continues to lead the nation with 76,838 solar jobs overall. However, solar jobs in the state decreased 11 percent from 2017. Florida now has the second-highest number of solar jobs, with 10,358 solar workers, in a 21 percent increase from 2017.
Other top states for solar jobs include Massachusetts (10,210 jobs), New York (9,729), Texas (9,612), Arizona (7,524), Ohio (7,162), Colorado (6,847), North Carolina (6,719), and Nevada (6,680). Notably, jobs in Illinois increased 37 percent in 2018, for a total of 4,879 solar workers.
“Colorado has a history of leading in clean energy,” said Colorado Governor Jared Polis. “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.”
The solar jobs map includes four years of data from 2015 through 2018 to show year-over-year trends in local solar job growth. In addition to the jobs numbers, it includes data on solar jobs by industry sector for each state; solar workforce demographics by state; important solar policies that states have adopted; and much more.
Data for the Solar Jobs Map is based on a rigorous survey of solar establishments conducted between September and October 2018. The survey included approximately 59,300 phone calls and over 49,000 emails. The survey was administered to 13,945 separate establishments, of which 2,697 provided full or substantially completed surveys.
“Austin is a proud leader in clean energy,” said Austin, Texas Mayor Steve Adler. “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.”
“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,” said Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan. “We will continue to lead on climate, be a hub for clean energy jobs, and be a city of the future.”
“It’s a point of pride that Chicago was one of the two leading metro areas for solar jobs growth last year,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “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.”
“When it comes to renewable energy, Minneapolis is not messing around,” said Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. “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.”
“Las Vegas has been a leader in sustainability for a number of years now,” said Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn G. Goodman. “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.”
“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,” said Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. “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.”
“Solar energy continues to be a critical economic driver for the United States, with residential solar leading the way,” said Lynn Jurich, Sunrun Co-Founder and CEO. “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.”
The interactive solar jobs map, along with detailed state fact sheets, can be accessed at SolarStates.org. Complete information on the National Solar Jobs Census 2018 can be viewed at SolarJobsCensus.org.
About The Solar Foundation®
The Solar Foundation® is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to accelerate adoption of the world’s most abundant energy source. Through its leadership, research, and capacity building, The Solar Foundation creates transformative solutions to achieve a prosperous future in which solar and solar-compatible technologies are integrated into all aspects of our lives. Learn more at TheSolarFoundation.org.