Solar energy jobs were up in 47 states and increased 9 percent nationwide from 2020 to 2021 to a total of 255,037 solar workers, according to the annual National Solar Jobs Census released last month by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), an independent national nonprofit organization.
Texas ranks fifth in the nation for the total number of solar jobs, with 10,346 jobs statewide as of 2021.
Overall, the solar industry added 21,563 jobs in 2021, with more than two-thirds of these new jobs (14,350) at installation and project development firms.
“America’s solar industry came back strong from the pandemic to expand the clean energy workforce across all regions of the country,” said Larry Sherwood, President and CEO at IREC. “The future remains uncertain in light of the supply chain disruptions, trade issues, and stalled federal policy in the first part of 2022. There is potential for unprecedented job growth in the coming years if federal, state, and local leaders take action to expand clean energy use and address climate change.”
Over the past decade, U.S. solar employment has more than doubled from 105,145 jobs in 2011 to 255,037 jobs in 2021.
The most significant growth has taken place in the installation and project development sector, where employment more than tripled since 2011 to reach 168,960 jobs in 2021. At the state level, California continues to lead in the total number of solar jobs with 75,712 jobs as of 2021, followed by Florida
(11,761 jobs), Massachusetts (10,548 jobs), New York (10,524 jobs), and Texas (10,346 jobs). These are followed by Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, and Ohio, each with 7,000 to 9,000 jobs.
California also led for the number of jobs added in 2021 (7,035 new jobs), followed by Massachusetts (+1,053 jobs), Nevada (+1,019 jobs), and Arizona (+932 jobs). Other strong growth states were Ohio, North Carolina, New Jersey, and Georgia, each with 800–900 new jobs.
“Solar energy is an economic growth engine, creating new jobs while it helps us confront the climate crisis,” said Dan Reicher, Senior Scholar, Stanford Woods Institute and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Energy. “There is vast and untapped potential to expand solar installations and related jobs across the United States, in an environmentally sustainable manner, as we help businesses and families access this renewable energy source.”
The report analyzes data from the U.S. Department of Energy’s U.S. Energy and Employment Report 2022 and a supplemental followup survey of solar establishments.
Both surveys were administered by BW Research Partnership. The National Solar Jobs Census defines a solar employee as someone who spends 50 percent or more of their time on solar-related work.
The National Solar Jobs Census was first published in 2010 by The Solar Foundation, which merged with IREC in 2021.
The full report and related data can be downloaded at https://irecusa.org/programs/ solar-jobs-census/.