Solar jobs up in Minnesota, increase 9% nationwide in 2021

(ABC 6 News) – Solar energy jobs were up in 47 states and increased 9% nationwide from 2020 to 2021 to a total of 255,037 workers.

These findings are in the annual National Solar Jobs Census released Tuesday by the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), an independent national nonprofit organization.

This job growth took place in a year of record solar installations driven by increased demand for renewable energy among residential customers, municipalities, businesses, and electric utilities. Overall, the solar industry added 21,563 jobs in 2021, with more than two-thirds of these new jobs (14,350) at installation and project development firms.

Minnesota has 4,570 solar jobs as of 2021, a 14% increase from 2020. California led the number of jobs added in 2021 with 7,035 followed by Massachusetts (+1,053 jobs), Nevada (+1,019 jobs), and Arizona (+932 jobs).

Over the past decade, U.S. solar employment has more than doubled from 105,145 jobs in 2011 to 255,037 jobs in 2021. The most significant growth has taken place in the installation and project development sector, where employment more than tripled since 2011 to reach 168,960 jobs in 2021.

“America’s solar industry came back strong from the pandemic to expand the clean energy workforce across all regions of the country,” said Larry Sherwood, President and CEO at IREC. “The future remains uncertain in light of the supply chain disruptions, trade issues, and stalled federal policy in the first part of 2022. There is potential for unprecedented job growth in the coming years if federal, state, and local leaders take action to expand clean energy use and address climate change.”

The solar industry still has more work to do to meet its goals for diversity, equity, and inclusion and extend the benefits of the clean energy economy to underrepresented groups. The report found that women made up just under 30% of the solar workforce in 2021, while Black employees made up 8% of the workforce, Latino or Hispanic workers made up 20%, and Asian workers made up 9%. Fewer than one-third of solar firms reported strategies to increase female, ethnic or racial minority, or LGBTQ+ hires.

The full report can be found HERE.