1. Home
  2. Energy Policy & Incentives

Solar Jobs: A Look at the “Next Great American Industry”

The words "Solar Jobs" over an image of a worker installing solar panels on the roof of a building.
PublicadoMarch 6, 2024
ActualizadoMay 17, 2024
AutorBrian ChurchWriterEditorCory O'Brien HeadshotCory O'BrienSenior Director - Growth Marketing
En este articulo
The Growth of US Solar Jobs
States with the Most Solar Jobs
Is solar energy a good industry to work in?
Recap and Further Reading 

Booming since just about 2008 (and we all know what happened economically in 2008), the US solar industry is like no other in the country.

Building upon constant change and innovation over the last 15 years, the Department of Energy calls solar, “the next great American industry,” with a nationwide workforce projected for sustained growth.

As a proud US solar company since 2008, we’ve created this resource to showcase the shape of the solar industry so far, including where solar jobs are located and what career opportunities are available today.

Learn more about us: Palmetto, a Solar Company and Clean Energy Platform 

See how much you can save by going solar with Palmetto

Step 01
Step 02
My electric bill is $290/mo

The Growth of US Solar Jobs

To meet the growing demand of homeowners and businesses looking to save money with solar energy, solar jobs have developed across the country within several main sectors, including manufacturing, operations and maintenance (O&M), sales, distribution, installation, and development.

In 2022, solar ranked the highest of all energy industry sectors in job creation, with over 12,000 new solar jobs added, representing 3.7% year-over-year growth. Solar has also created many opportunities for professionals in other industries to assist the growing market, such as realtors, roofers, marketers, lawyers, financiers, or other solar-adjacent business services.

Data on solar workers by sector from 2008 through 2022.

Source: IREC, The National Solar Jobs Census 2022. July 2023.

States with the Most Solar Jobs

With opportunities on both coasts, inland, and all over the map, solar jobs are available in most areas of the country, though not necessarily in a uniform sense. For instance, even if you are doing a bit of speed reading, it would be hard not to notice the large gap between the first and second-ranked states for solar jobs listed below.

According to a 2023 United States Energy & Employment Report  (USEER 2023) from the Department of Energy (DOE), the ten states with the highest number of solar jobs are as follows:

  1. California - 115,251
  2. Massachusetts - 16,379
  3. Texas - 14,830
  4. New York - 14,292
  5. Florida - 13,430
  6. Arizona - 9,627
  7. North Carolina - 9,091
  8. Nevada - 8,848
  9. New Jersey - 8,781
  10. Colorado - 8,473

With plenty of sunshine, leading legislation, and a population greater than the whole of Canada, California has been instrumental in US solar growth from the get-go. For over a decade, the Golden State has led the country in solar employment by a large margin, helping more people go solar in California than anywhere else. Following NEM 3.0 in CA, the state’s solar industry did shrink in 2023, with an estimated 17,000 jobs lost.

Beyond the juggernaut that is California, Massachusetts is one of the most well-established solar markets in the country with great state incentives and high electricity prices driving many homeowners to save money with solar in MA. Rounding out the list, Texas, New York, and Florida are heavily populated states that have accelerated solar efforts in the last decade, just as Arizona, North Carolina, Nevada, New Jersey, and Colorado are all considered great hubs for solar energy employment.

See how much you can save by going solar with Palmetto

Step 01
Step 02
My electric bill is $290/mo

Solar Industry Career Paths

With hundreds of thousands of new solar panels going up every year in the United States, there are many ways in which you may be able to get involved (and paid!) if interested. Looking a bit further into the DOE’s 2023 Energy & Employment Report, you’ll find that an astounding half of US solar jobs are in construction, including system design, project management, and installation.

A chart comparing solar industry jobs by sector, using 2023 data.

Source data: United States Energy & Employment Report 2023 (USEER 2023)

If you are looking to get in on the ground floor of solar energy right away, entry-level positions are most often found in sales/marketing, installation, or manufacturing, depending on your interests and qualifications. To envision your solar energy career path, we recommend using this map from the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) which explores 40 unique solar jobs with helpful information on pay, education, training, and routes for advancement.

Is solar energy a good industry to work in?

At Palmetto, we get to help homeowners save money on energy costs and offset greenhouse gas emissions every day as a proud member of the US solar industry. While we are confident that a career with Palmetto is likely to yield a great experience, when looking at the industry as a whole, there are several pros and cons of working in solar.

Pros of working in solar:

  • Energy services are a vital part of modern life, which provides some employment and industry security.
  • Within a growing and changing market, there is a lot of career advancement potential in solar, especially with companies that promote internally.
  • At the end of the day, solar helps combat climate change and offset carbon emissions, allowing many industry workers to align their employment and personal values.

Cons of working in solar:

  • The number of solar energy job opportunities varies heavily by region and may not be available in your immediate surroundings.
  • Significant training is necessary for most advanced or high-paying roles, including higher education requirements or time-intensive industry certifications.
  • Despite its growth and strength, the modern solar industry is still relatively young when compared to other energy sources and is occasionally volatile as a result.

Recap and Further Reading 

In what many insiders often call, “the solar coaster,” solar energy is an exciting industry that has seen a significant amount of growth, change, and resilience over the past few decades. While every person is going to have a different experience, right now, solar’s presence and estimated future demand can make it a great choice for a career in many different fields and disciplines.

If you’re ready to get your résumé together, or simply want to see what’s out there, you can visit the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) Job Board to view live listings of opportunities from real solar companies or access several solar career advancement resources.

Even more, you can always contact a Palmetto solar advisor or check out our solar and clean energy resource center to have your solar questions answered by our trusted experts.

Get in touch with Palmetto today!

See what solar can do for you:

My electric bill is $290/mo
Sobre el AutorBrian ChurchWriter

Brian is a writer, NABCEP PV associate and outdoor enthusiast living in Denver, Colorado. As a freelancer, Brian has written hundreds of articles to help individuals, businesses and our planet benefit from solar power and sustainable energy systems.

Suscríbase a nuestro boletín

Reciba las últimas noticias e información sobre energía solar, limpia, cambio climático y vida sostenible todos los meses por correo electrónico.

Lea más del Centro de aprendizaje de energía limpia

Palmetto es su recurso para noticias, actualizaciones y preguntas. El conocimiento es poder. Invierta con confianza.

Guide to the solar tax credit and your federal tax liability

Solar Tax Credit: Will I Get a Refund if My Liability Is Too Small?

Tax liability too small to take advantage of the full Residential Clean Energy Credit? Here are your options, and how to maximize home solar savings on your taxes.
An image with white text that says "Duke Energy's PowerPair Program" over a background of blue batteries.

Duke Energy PowerPair Program Approved by NCUC

What is Duke Energy's PowerPair Solar and Battery Program? Who is eligible? What are the benefits? Learn the key elements of Duke's new solar+storage program.
The words "Solar Access Laws by State" over an image of legal books, representing various solar access laws (aka solar rights laws or solar zoning laws) which are legal codes that protect a homeowner's right to access solar energy.

Solar Access Laws by State

Solar access laws (aka solar rights laws or solar zoning laws) are legal codes that protect your right to access solar energy. Learn your state’s access laws.

See how much

you can benefit

going solar with Palmetto

¿Cuál es su factura mensual de electricidad?