GROWTH UP 38% OVER PREVIOUS YEAR, CONTINUED GROWTH PROJECTED
Sacramento- As a direct result of California’s long-standing commitment to clean energy and technological innovation, the state’s solar employment ranks grew 38% in 2015, adding over 20,000 new jobs and hitting an all-time of high of 75,598 solar jobs, according to the latest report by The Solar Foundation, “California Solar Jobs Census 2015.”
The California solar industry praised local policy makers for their continued support of this new clean energy market, pointing to recent decisions around net energy metering, extension of the federal investment tax credit, and the state’s 50% by 2030 renewable portfolio standard in SB 350 (de León) – all that help create certainty and consumer adoption of alternative ways of generating power.
“Solar power is a bright spot in California’s economy, bringing jobs and economic development to every corner of the state,” said Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of the California Solar Energy Industries Association (CALSEIA). “While conventional energy industries are losing jobs, we are seeing record growth, and bringing clean air and climate solutions along the way.”
The Solar Foundation also studied the job growth in other states and concluded that while California is by far the nation’s leader in solar development and job growth, there are other markets worth watching. In fact, thirty-three states, including the District of Columbia, saw positive solar jobs growth over the past year, and many states experienced double‐digit growth.
“Solar job creation is booming across the country. California’s 20,000 new jobs marks an industry milestone—but states like Utah, Colorado, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Virginia demonstrate the regional diversity of the industry’s growth,” said Andrea Luecke, President and Executive Director of The Solar Foundation. “Our data since 2012 show that half the states in the country have at least doubled their solar workforce.”
Other California solar jobs facts:
- Installation companies, driven mainly by the “rooftop” sector, are responsible for 54% of all solar jobs in California, totaling 40,597, and saw a 29% growth rate in 2015.
- Sales and distribution jobs were the second most numerous, with 11,223 jobs statewide, and showing a nearly 50% growth over the previous year.
- A very close third, in-state solar manufacturing sector jobs also grew in 2015 to a total of 11,183 solar jobs in California.
- Last but not least, jobs within the project development sector--typically focused on large commercial projects on farms and big commercial buildings as well as utility-scale developments--grew at a fast rate, adding nearly 6,000 solar workers in 2015. Such growth may have been driven by fears around the reduction in the federal tax credit.
- CALSEIA reports that California’s 75,598 solar jobs exceed the employment of the state’s five largest utilities combined (Pacific Gas & Electric: 20,000; Southern California Edison: 13,600; Los Angeles Department of Water and Power: 8,800; San Diego Gas & Electric: 5,000; and Sacramento Municipal Utility District: 2007 – all total 49,407 utility jobs statewide).
“CALSEIA applauds The Solar Foundation for their excellent research and for educating the public about the job growth that comes from investments in solar energy,” said Del Chiaro. “Part of what makes renewable energy so unique and beneficial to our economy is that because the fuel is free, more of the investment goes into jobs most of which are inherently local and can’t be outsourced. So, as California grows its solar market, it automatically grows local jobs.”
About The Solar Foundation
The Solar Foundation (TSF) is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to increase understanding of solar energy through strategic research and education that transform markets. Since 2010, TSF has published its annual National Solar Jobs Census, which established the first credible solar jobs baseline for the U.S. TSF is considered the premier research organization on the solar labor workforce, employer trends, and the economic impacts of solar and advises many organizations on the topic. TSF is also a leading provider of educational materials on the economic impacts of solar for local governments through its work with the U.S. Department of Energy. In addition, TSF chairs the National Solar Schools Consortium, a group of stakeholders seeking to make solar a larger part of the national K-12 system. More at www.TheSolarFoundation.org.
Since the 1970s, CALSEIA has advanced the common interests of the solar industry, helping make California's solar market the most robust in the United States. Comprised of California over three hundred contractors, manufacturers, distributors, developers, engineers, consultants and educational organizations, CALSEIA represents a diverse membership committed to growing the California solar industry. CALSEIA engages with local and state decision makers to ensure California remains a solar energy leader through good public policy and regulations that provide clarity, transparency, and certainty. More at www.CALSEIA.org.