Author: Jason Plautz@Jason_Plautz Published: March 21, 2019

Dive Brief:
The San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont metro region has the most solar jobs in the nation with 22,101 workers in the industry, according to a new analysis from The Solar Foundation. Los Angeles, New York, San Diego and Boston also lead the nation in solar jobs.
Overall, there were more than 242,000 solar workers in the country in 2018, a 3.2% decrease from 2017. Still, 29 states saw increases in the solar industry, as governments roll out new clean energy incentives and targets.
California remained the top state for solar, with 76,838 jobs. Eight of the top 10 counties for solar jobs are also in California.

Dive Insight:
California has long been a national leader on clean energy, so the state’s position at the top of the leaderboard — and the strong jobs numbers in cities including San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego — comes as no surprise. The analysis found that Florida, with a 21% increase from 2017, was now second in the country with 10,358 solar jobs, followed by Massachusetts (10,210) and New York (9,729).

The solar jobs tally reveals that Toledo, Ohio, where First Solar is building a new manufacturing plant, saw the biggest year-over-year increase, nearly doubling its solar workforce by adding 1,188 jobs. Chicago, Miami and Seattle also had significant growth, with the Chicago metro region adding more than 1,000 jobs.

The industry’s strong employment numbers across the country reflects how many states and cities are investing in solar energy, even against headwinds from the federal government. Since many cities have direct power over their utility contracts and can compel utilities to adopt more solar or renewable power, that has become a way for them to meet climate goals (a survey from the U.S. Conference of Mayors released this fall found that 60% of cities have launched or expanded a climate plan in the past year).

“States and cities are today’s leaders in the movement for 100 percent clean energy, building the solar workforce that will help America stand up to the challenge of climate change,” Andrea Luecke, president of The Solar Foundation, said in a statement.

Recommended Reading:
The Solar Foundation Solar Jobs Census 2018offsite link