The National Solar Jobs Census report from the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) reveals that solar energy jobs in the US grew by 3.5% in the past year.
The report also indicated a 5% increase in clean energy storage jobs. The census covers all 50 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico, highlighting the significant growth of the renewable energy job market in the country.
According to the report, there were a total of 263,883 solar workers in 2022, which is an increase of 8,846 jobs compared to 2021. This number encompasses workers who are primarily involved in solar-related activities.
The residential market segment saw an 11% growth in jobs, driven by a surge in new residential solar installations. However, the utility-scale market segment experienced a decline of around 6,000 jobs, which the IREC attributed to concerns related to tariffs and supply chain disruptions.
Clean energy storage jobs, including battery storage, increased by 4.6% over 2021 and have grown by 28% since 2017. The report underscores that a significant portion of these jobs were in battery storage, reflecting the growing importance of energy storage technologies in the transition to renewable energy.
California led the way in job growth, adding 2,404 solar jobs, followed by New York, Texas, Florida, and Massachusetts.
The report also highlighted the challenges posed by a tight labor market in the solar industry. A record 44% of solar industry employers reported it was “very difficult” to find qualified applicants in 2022.
IREC predicts a promising outlook for solar job growth in 2023 as supply chain concerns are alleviated and installations increase. Furthermore, the impacts of the Inflation Reduction Act are expected to drive additional growth in solar and other clean energy industries.
The census also includes information on the wind energy sector, which saw a 4.5% increase in jobs, totaling 125,580 positions in 2022. Texas leads the nation with approximately 26,000 wind energy jobs.
Overall, the report underlines the growing employment opportunities in renewable energy generation industries, including solar, wind, traditional hydropower, low-impact hydropower, and geothermal.