National Solar Jobs Census 2017

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The Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census 2017 is the eighth annual report on current employment and trends in the U.S. solar industry, nationwide and state by state. To keep pace with the industry’s rapid transformation, The Solar Foundation conducts rigorous surveys of employers each year on recent solar workforce trends and the outlook for the future.

This year’s Solar Jobs Census found that solar employment experienced its first decline since The Solar Foundation began tracking jobs in 2010. As of November 2017, the solar industry employs 250,271 solar workers, representing a decline of 3.8%, or about 9,800 fewer jobs, since 2016. Importantly, the long-term trend for U.S. solar jobs has been very strong. Solar employment since 2010 has grown by 168%, from just over 93,000 to more than 250,000 jobs in all 50 states.

Key factors behind the decline in solar jobs from 2016 to 2017 include:

  • A slowdown from the record-setting industry expansion seen in 2016. Installed capacity doubled between 2015 and 2016 in anticipation that the 30% federal investment tax credit would expire. In 2017, solar installations continued at a more moderate pace.
  • Policy and economic challenges led to job declines in well-established solar states, such as California.
  • Uncertainty over the outcome of the Section 201 trade case and its impact on the U.S. solar market.