National Solar Jobs Census 2018

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The Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census 2018 is the ninth annual report on employment and workforce trends in the U.S. solar industry, nationwide and state by state. Based on a rigorous survey of U.S. companies, this report represents the most comprehensive analysis of solar labor market trends in the United States. This year’s National Solar Jobs Census found that solar employment experienced its second decline since The Solar Foundation first began tracking jobs in 2010. As of November 2018, the solar industry employs over 242,000 solar workers, representing a decline of 3.2%, or 8,000 fewer jobs, since 2017. Since 2010, solar employment has grown 159%, from just over 93,000 to more than 242,000 jobs in all 50 states.

Key factors behind the decline in solar jobs from 2017 to 2018 include:

  • Uncertainty over the outcome of the Section 201 trade case before the new solar tariffs were announced in January 2018. This uncertainty led to project delays, especially for the larger, utility-scale installations.
  • State policy and economic challenges led to job declines in some states with well-established solar markets.

SOLAR JOB TRENDS IN 2018

This report includes up-to-date information on solar jobs state by state, by industry sector, and within demographic groups, as well as employer predictions on future job growth. Other major findings on the U.S. solar workforce, as of November 2018, are as follows:

  • Despite losses in states with well-established solar markets, 29 states saw solar job growth in 2018, including many states with emerging solar markets. States that experienced significant gains in employment included Florida (+1,769 jobs), Illinois (+1,308), Texas (+739), New York (+718), Ohio (+644), and Washington (+612).
  • The states that experienced the largest job reductions between 2017 and 2018 included California (-9,576 jobs), Massachusetts (-1,320), North Carolina (-903), Arizona (-857), Maryland (-808), New Jersey (-696), Georgia (-614), and Hawaii (-595). California, home to about 40% of U.S. solar capacity, still has by far the most jobs nationwide. In 2018, Florida overtook Massachusetts as the state ranking second to California in total solar jobs.

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