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Ray of Sunshine: Solar Accounted for 1-in-50 New Jobs

The American solar workforce grew at a historic pace in 2016, a year when 1 out of every 50 new U.S. jobs was in the solar industry, according to the new National Solar Jobs Census 2016, the seventh annual report on solar employment issued this month by The Solar Foundation, an Energy Foundation grantee.

The National Solar Jobs Census 2016 found that solar industry employment growth outpaced the overall U.S. economy by 17 times, reaching a total of 260,077 U.S. solar workers. The solar workforce grew at the fastest pace since the first National Solar Jobs Census was released in 2010.

The number of solar jobs increased in 44 of the 50 states in 2016, showing that solar industry growth is truly a nationwide phenomenon. The state with the highest total number of solar jobs in 2016 was California, followed by Massachusetts, Texas, Nevada, and Florida. A complete list of the number of solar jobs by state, along with state growth rates over 2015, can be found at

“Rapid growth in the U.S. solar industry is helping drive a profound transformation of our economy, bringing quality jobs to communities, lowering costs for families and businesses, and reducing America’s contribution to climate change,” said the Energy Foundation’s Curtis Seymour, Program Director for Renewables and Grid.

“Energy Foundation is proud to support the National Solar Jobs Census because it helps policymakers and the public quantify the benefits and find new ways to advance clean energy, which serves the public interest,” Seymour said.

This year’s Census was part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s U.S. Energy and Employment Report data collection effort that included more than 500,000 telephone calls and over 60,000 emails to energy establishments in the U.S. between October and November 2016. This resulted in a total of 3,888 full completions for establishments involved in solar activity in the U.S.

In addition to big gains for solar, the U.S. Department of Energy’s second annual Energy and Employment Report, issued in January, indicated strong growth in 2016 in the energy efficiency sector, which grew to employ 2.2 million workers, and wind power industry, which grew to 102,000 workers.

Portions of this article were re-printed with permission from The Solar Foundation.