The U.S. solar workforce will grow 3.5% in 2022 as clean energy storage jobs boom, according to the 13th annual report. National Census of Solar Jobs published by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC).
A new report shows that there are 263,883 solar workers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, an increase of 8,846 jobs since 2021.
Clean energy storage jobs, including battery storage, will grow 4.6% in 2021 and 28% since 2017. IREC, an independent not-for-profit organization, publishes National Census of Solar Jobs provide a comprehensive analysis of solar job growth and workforce development each year. This year’s report includes additional data on storage and other clean energy sectors.
“The solar industry has grown by leaps and bounds over the past decade, overcoming one challenge after another to provide a quarter of a million jobs for Americans of all education levels and backgrounds,” said IREC President and CEO Larry Sherwood. “With the passage of the Deinflation Act, we can expect transformational job growth in solar, battery and other clean energy sectors in the coming years.”
In the residential market, jobs grew 11%, or nearly 9,500 jobs, as residential solar experienced its best year for new installations in 2022. the segment of the scale market, which lost about 6,000 jobs.
About two-thirds (171,558) of all solar jobs were at installation and project development companies. Solar manufacturing jobs totaled 33,473, but those jobs could grow significantly in 2023 and beyond if companies follow announcements of new local solar manufacturing facilities as a result of the Inflation Reduction Act.
Solar jobs grow in 42 states and Puerto Rico by 2022. The state with the most jobs was California (2,404 jobs), followed by New York (988 jobs), Texas (904 jobs), Florida (506 jobs) and Massachusetts. (476 jobs).
In addition to the 263,883 workers who spent most of their time on solar, there were other workers who spent less than half of their time on solar-related work. There were a total of 346,143 workers who spent all or part of their time on solar energy.
“Solar projects provide opportunities for professionals with a variety of skills and create good-paying jobs in the communities where we build and operate,” said SOLV Energy CEO George Hershman. “What’s more, the demand for solar power has a ripple effect that creates jobs in other industries that provide critical equipment, fences and even lunch for our workers, generating revenue for local businesses that allow them to hire more workers.”
The job market in the solar industry has increased hiring challenges. In 2022, 44% of solar industry employers said it was “very difficult” to find qualified applicants, the highest percentage ever recorded. Solar Jobs Census.
“The U.S. solar industry remains resilient and will keep more than 263,000 Americans on the payroll in 2022,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “By 2022, more than half of all new solar jobs will not require a bachelor’s degree, helping more Americans start their careers in a forward-thinking and mission-driven industry. We’ve also made significant progress in welcoming more women and people of color into the solar industry, but we must continue to create inclusive and intentional workforce development strategies that can ensure our clean energy future.”
In 2022, 85,858 workers worked in clean storage operations, 85% of whom worked in battery storage. In total, there were about 432,000 workers in either solar or clean storage in 2022.
Wind energy jobs totaled 125,580 in 2022, a 4.5% increase from 120,164 in 2021. In total, there were 546,630 workers in the renewable energy generation sectors, including solar, wind, conventional hydro, low-impact hydro and geothermal.
The US has a promising outlook for solar job growth in 2023 as supply chain concerns ease and installations increase. Jobs in solar and other clean energy sectors are likely to grow even more in the coming years due to the effects of the Deinflation Act.
This report is based on a survey conducted by BW Research Partnership for the US Department of Energy United States Energy and Jobs Report 2023. The full report and data are available here.
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