Andrea Luecke, Solar
Foundation: Solar Industry's Job Growth Rate is 6.8%
October 18, 2011
Solar Foundation released its second annual review of the U.S. solar
workforce. The "National Solar Jobs Census 2011: A Review of the U.S.
Solar Workforce" found that hiring in the solar workforce is on the
rise. More than 100,000 Americans are now employed in the solar
"The solar industry has grown into a major economic force with more than
100,000 employees in the United States," said Andrea Luecke, executive
director of The Solar Foundation. "We expect even greater growth in the
foreseeable future. But policymakers, workforce training providers, and
the industry must work together to continue creating good jobs for
As of August 2011, the Census identified more than 17,198 solar
employment sites and 100,237 solar jobs in all 50 states. The solar
industry's job growth rate of 6.8 percent is significantly higher than
the 2 percent net job loss in fossil fuel power generation and the
economy-wide expectation of 0.7 percent growth over the same period.
California continued to be the national leader in solar employment, with
25,575 workers. Rounding out the top 10 states are Colorado, Arizona,
Pennsylvania, New York, Florida, Texas, Oregon, New Jersey and
Massachusetts. Colorado, Arizona, Florida, Oregon, New Jersey and
Massachusetts showed the strongest growth rates from August 2010.
Census also found that solar employers expect to increase the number of
solar workers by 24 percent, representing nearly 24,000 net new jobs by
August 2012. Over the next 12 months, nearly half of solar firms expect
to add jobs.
"These survey responses merely reflect employers' best estimates at
expected new hiring, but it demonstrates a clear growth pattern for the
industry and tremendous optimism by employers in the industry," said
Luecke. "Employers expressed similar optimism last year, but failed to
meet their hiring expectations because of stalled legislative
initiatives and continued policy uncertainty."
The survey examined employment along the solar value chain and included
data from more than 2,100 solar company survey respondents. The National
Solar Jobs Census 2011 was conducted by The Solar Foundation and BW
Research Partnership's Green LMI Consulting division with technical
assistance from Cornell University.