The Solar Jobs Census 2016 demonstrates that the U.S. solar industry is having a positive and growing impact on the national economy, supporting jobs across every state in the nation, and most sub-state geographic breakdowns. As with the previous Census studies, this report series includes information about all types of companies engaged in the analysis, research and development, production, sales, installation, and use of all solar technologies – ranging from solar photovoltaics (PV), to concentrating solar power (CSP), to solar water heating systems for the residential, commercial, industrial, and utility market segments.

While this is The Solar Foundation’s seventh annual Solar Jobs Census effort, this is the first time partnered with the U.S. Department of Energy for its United States Energy and Employment Report (USEER), published in January 2017. The findings presented herein are based on rigorous survey efforts – conducted by The Solar Foundation’s long-standing research vendor, BW Research Partnership – that include more than 500,000 telephone calls and over 60,000 emails to known and potential energy establishments across the United States. This effort resulted in a total of 3,888 full completions for establishments involved in solar activity in the U.S.* Unlike economic impact models that generate employment estimates based on economic data or jobs-per megawatt (or jobs-per-dollar) assumptions, the Solar Jobs Census series provides statistically valid and current data, gathered from actual employers.

All jobs data for 2015 derive from The Solar Foundation’s Census report series. All jobs data for 2016, except for district level data, derive from the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2016 U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER). See the full National Solar Jobs Census report for a more thorough description of the research methodology. District-level data are developed from proprietary data sets and supplemental research conducted by The Solar Foundation and were not produced by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Other non-jobs related facts and figures included in the map were compiled from a variety of sources. Wage data derives from analysis by The Solar Foundation of the Talent Neuron database offered by CEB Global. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) provided the data used to estimate “Number of Homes Powered by Solar”. “Total Solar Companies” was derived from SEIA’s National Solar Database. “Electricity Price Rank” is based on data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. “Net Metering Policy Grade” and “Interconnection Policy Grade” were both obtained from Freeing the Grid 2015, a joint project of The Vote Solar Initiative, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council, and EQ Research. Information on the “Legal Status of Third-Party Ownership”, “Renewable Portfolio Standard Target”, and “RPS Solar Carve-out Target” was all sourced from the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency, produced and maintained by the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center at N.C. State University.

The Solar Foundation would like to acknowledge and thank its sponsors:

Energy Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Tilia Fund, Solar Energy Industries Association, Swinerton, E.ON, sPower, SunLink, Sungevity, Sierra Club, the California Energy Commission, and the State of New Mexico Energy Minerals and Natural Resources Department.

When referring to the data contained in the Solar Jobs Map, please cite: “Solar Jobs Map 2016, The Solar Foundation,”.


*Unfortunately, locational employment data was not provided by First Solar for all establishments, but an estimate was created for Ohio employment and distributed across sub-state geographies based on local business concentration. We hope to receive more responses to improve detail on Ohio solar employment next year.