Labor Market Research


National Solar Jobs Census Report Series

The U.S. labor market is still recovering from the economic downturn that began in late 2007, and yet the growth in solar jobs remains strong. The National Solar Jobs Census 2011 report, we produced alongside Green LMI and Cornell University, shows that solar industry employed nearly 100,000 U.S. workers as of August 2011. Based on survey responses, solar employers expect to add an additional 24,000 jobs by August 2012, signifying that solar jobs are growing at a rate many times higher than almost every other sector and that the solar industry is having a positive effect on the overall U.S. economy. On November 14th, 2012, The Solar Foundation announced its release of the National Solar Jobs Census 2012, which shows that the U.S. solar industry employs 119,016 Americans. This figure represents the addition of 13,872 new solar jobs and a 13.2 percent employment growth rate over the past year. During the same time period, employment in the overall economy grew at a rate of 2.3 percent. 

Read more about our award winning National Solar Jobs Census 2010, National Solar Jobs Census 2011, National Solar Jobs Census 2012 or our work in support of the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Instructor Training Network (through IREC).


State Solar Jobs Map

Spring 2013 saw the release of our State Solar Jobs Map , a web-based tool providing the first-ever highly credible solar jobs numbers for each of the fifty states. The interactive map presents information on the relative size of solar industry subsectors in each state and allows users to explore how their state measures up to others in terms of key solar policies, jobs per capita, and number of homes powered by solar energy. Thousands of data points from a combination of high-quality sources including TSF’s National Solar Jobs Census 2012 and the Solar Energy Industries Association’s National Solar Database were analyzed via a dual methodology to develop the jobs estimates that are the focus of this unprecedented effort.

Other Efforts


In addition to our regular work on the annual National Solar Jobs Census and with the Solar Instructor Training Network, The Solar Foundation has pursued a number of other labor market research projects with our partners in the private and non-profit sectors:

--  Report assessing solar job skills - a joint effort with the Blue Green Alliance Foundation. To be released at the end of 2012.

--  The November 2012 release of Financing the Next Generation of Solar Workers marks the culmination of a joint effort between The Solar Foundation, SolarTech, and the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP), working together under the SolarTech Workforce Innovations Collaborative (SWIC), to conceive of a number of innovative funding mechanisms to provide adequate private-sector funding for workforce training programs. This concept paper provides a starting point for a new path forward in financing solar workforce training. The three funding mechanisms described in the paper are not offered prescriptively; rather, our intention in proposing them is to motivate a discussion on how the solar industry and other stakeholders might come together to bridge the impending workforce funding gap.

--  In the spring of 2013, the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) released a report with support from the Energy Foundation, The Solar Foundation, and the Wind Energy Foundation. Understanding Renewable Energy Businesses: Aligning Renewable Energy Firms and Economic Developers provides economic development officers valuable insight into which policies and incentives renewable energy firms deem the most important to their sustained growth. This report is designed as a complement to IEDC's 2011 Powering Up report, which surveyed economic developers on their strategies for supporting the renewable energy industries.