California Leads Nation in Solar Jobs

CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 01: Solar photovoltaic panels generate electricity at an Exelon solar power facility on September 1, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The 10-megawatt facility located on the city's south side is the largest urban solar installation in the United States. The 32,292 panels can generate more than 14,000 megawatt-hours of electricity per year, enough to meet the annual energy requirements of up to 1,500 homes. 
National Journal
Add to Briefcase
Clare Foran
Feb. 11, 2014, 10:35 a.m.

Sunny Cali­for­nia ranks as the No. 1 state for sol­ar jobs, ac­cord­ing to a re­port by edu­ca­tion and re­search non­profit the Sol­ar Found­a­tion.

With more than 47,000 work­ers cur­rently em­ployed in the sol­ar in­dustry, Cali­for­nia has a strong lead over the No. 2 state, Ari­zona, which has 8,500 jobs tied to the in­dustry.

“Cali­for­nia has about a third of sol­ar work­ers across the coun­try,” An­drea Luecke, ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or of the Sol­ar Found­a­tion, said in a brief­ing Tues­day to re­lease state-spe­cif­ic sol­ar-jobs num­bers. “It’s been an in­cub­at­or of the in­dustry for a long time.”

While Cali­for­nia has long been touted as a sol­ar suc­cess story, Ari­zona’s path to job growth in the sol­ar in­dustry has been rocky.

“Ari­zona’s a little bit dif­fer­ent,” Luecke said. “Des­pite hav­ing the No. 1 sol­ar re­source in the na­tion, it had a tough year; it lost 1,200 jobs.”

Luecke said the reas­on Ari­zona lost sol­ar jobs is dif­fi­cult to pin down.

Battles between the sol­ar in­dustry and util­it­ies pro­viders played out in the state last year when state reg­u­lat­ors im­posed a monthly fee on rooftop sol­ar cus­tom­ers for Ari­zona Pub­lic Ser­vice, the state’s largest util­ity pro­vider.

Last month, the Sol­ar Found­a­tion re­leased its 2013 Na­tion­al Sol­ar Jobs Census, a re­port that found that the rate of sol­ar job growth ex­ceeded the av­er­age rate of job growth for the rest of the U.S. eco­nomy last year.