Author: Anne Fisher      Published: July 26,2022    PV Magazine

According to the National Solar Jobs Census 2020, employment in the solar industry looked favorable in 2021 compared to fossil fuel industries, but solar employers have some work to do on increasing diversity.

Solar energy jobs were up in 47 states and increased 9% nationwide from 2020 to 2021 to a total of 255,037 solar workers, according to the annual National Solar Jobs Census released today by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), an independent national nonprofit organization.

This job growth follows 2020, which was a tough year for many industries. The US solar industry employed 231,474 workers in 2020, a 6.7% drop from 2019 due to pandemic restrictions and increased labor productivity, according to the National Solar Jobs Census 2020. The job growth in 2021 reflects a rebound taking place in what was a record year for solar installations. 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.”

The National Solar Jobs Census was first published in 2010 by The Solar Foundation, which merged with IREC in 2021. It’s interesting to look over the past decade with US solar employment more than doubling 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.