Solar Tribune

California tops the nation for solar jobs


A new report has found that the U.S. solar industry now employs almost 120,000 people, with California leading the way.

According to The Solar Foundation’s (TSF) third annual National Solar Jobs Census, in 2012 the solar industry employed 119,016 people in the U.S. That’s 13,872 more than 2011, a 13.2 percent increase.

The report, a collaboration between TSF, BW Research Partnership and Cornell University, surveyed over 1,000 companies across the industry, including in installation, sales and distribution, and manufacturing.

Credit: The Solar Foundation

Credit: The Solar Foundation

Since 2010, the U.S. solar industry has seen employment grow 27 percent, eight times higher than employment in the country as a whole, which grew by only 3.2 percent in the same period.

Installation is the largest subsector in terms of employment, now employing 57,177 Americans, a 17.5 percent jump from 2011. Sales and distribution jobs experienced a 23.1 percent increase, now up to 16,005 employees.

“The National Solar Jobs Census 2012 illustrates that the solar industry, as a whole, is a dependable job creator and that solar employers are confident about growth in 2013,” said Andrea Luecke, TSF Executive Director.

“The growth by installers, especially at larger firms, signals that this subsector is heading toward a period of consolidation and maturation on par with other successful industries at this stage of the growth curve.”

Furthermore, the outlook for the coming year is positive: employers in the industry expect growth of 17.2 percent, or an additional 20,000 workers.

“The fact that such a large proportion of employers anticipate adding jobs despite the difficulties facing the solar industry suggests that solar employment will continue its upward growth trajectory,” added Luecke.

The National Solar Jobs Census also broke down employment by state, finding that California leads the way with 43,700 solar jobs. Arizona came in second with 9,800 solar jobs, making it the state with most solar jobs per capita.

For the full breakdown, go to

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