Jobs Census 2022
With expanded jobs data on energy storage
and other clean energy industries
Jobs in Other Clean Energy Industries | Clean Energy Storage | Battery Storage Employment | Other Renewable Electricity Generation | Other Clean Energy Technologies
Jobs in Other Clean Energy Industries
Solar is part of a national and global trend toward increased deployment of clean and renewable energy technologies. The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) will only supercharge the growth of renewable electricity, electric vehicles, and energy efficiency. These industries already employ millions of Americans and are expected to see major job growth in the years ahead.
The U.S. Solar Jobs Census draws from the United States Energy & Employment Report (USEER) survey which tallies employment trends across all energy sectors. Using these data, we are able to place solar jobs in the context of broader American clean energy job growth.
One difference in methodology should be noted: The “majority-time” solar jobs cited in this report totaling 263,883 in 2022 include only those who spend 50% or more of their time on solar-related work. For all other technologies, workers are classified based on the industry where they spend the largest amount of their time.1 Therefore, this section of the report will reference the solar job total of 346,143 (those who spent any amount of their time on solar-related work).
Clean Energy Storage
There were 85,858 workers employed in clean storage jobs in 2022, a 4.6% increase from 2021. Of these, 72,923 jobs, or 85% of the total, were in battery storage. An additional 8,333 workers were in pumped hydropower storage, and the remaining 5% were in mechanical storage, thermal storage, and biofuel storage. In total, there were about 432,000 workers in either solar energy or clean storage in 2022.
Clean energy storage is in the midst of an employment boom, with jobs growing 28% since 2017—in marked contrast to the modest job growth in most other clean energy sectors. This trend reflects the accelerated growth of battery storage deployment in the United States. A record 4.8 GW of battery storage was deployed in 2022, compared to only 288 MW in 2017. Analysts expect another 75 GW in storage will be deployed in the next five years.2
Most of the new storage capacity is grid-scale, or “front-of-the-meter” batteries. These batteries can store energy from utility-scale solar or wind projects, reduce peak period customer load, and/or support a smoother operating electricity grid. At the same time, battery storage installed behind the meter at residential solar installations is growing more popular. In 2022, 11% of residential solar and 6% of non-residential installations had storage included, a figure the industry expects to reach 33% by 2027.3 Another factor is the growing popularity of electric vehicles (EVs), which made up 8% of new car sales in the first quarter of 2023.4
Also driving the market is a new tax credit for stand-alone energy storage in the IRA, which went into effect in 2023. This will encourage utility- and third party-developed stand-alone storage projects in addition to storage co-located with solar farms.
Battery Storage Employment
In 2022, the number of workers in the battery storage sector grew by 4.6%, totaling 72,923 workers. Of these, 25,247 worked at firms that were primarily devoted to solar energy, a 15% increase from 2021. (Once again, these 72,923 storage workers are in addition to the 346,143 employees who are categorized as solar energy workers.) The vast majority of firms worked on lithium battery storage, while some also worked on other technologies such as lead-based batteries.
Just over half of battery storage workers were involved in construction, which includes jobs installing the battery storage projects. Another 19% were involved in battery manufacturing, including EV batteries, while others were involved in professional and business services or wholesale trade.5
Battery storage encompasses a wide variety of jobs. At grid-scale storage projects, jobs can include trained electricians and equipment operators who install the batteries on site. Since battery storage project construction requires a distinct set of skills, these workers may be a separate team from the crew installing a solar project. At residential solar companies, batteries are typically installed by the same team installing the panels. In general, battery storage requires more expertise but is less labor-intensive than solar installations.
Among all battery storage workers, about one-third worked on behind-the-meter projects while 17% were on front-of-the-meter projects. Others worked on consumer devices related to batteries, and others on batteries for vehicles. At solar firms, the breakdown is similar but with a greater proportion working in front of the meter and fewer on vehicles.
The top state for clean storage jobs was California, followed by Nevada, Texas, Massachusetts, and Michigan. In 2022, most energy storage capacity (71%) was installed in California, with another 14% in Texas.6
Other Renewable Electricity Generation
In 2022, there were 546,630 workers in renewable energy industries including solar, wind, traditional and low-impact hydropower, and geothermal, marking a 3.8% increase from 2021.
There were 125,580 wind energy jobs in 2022, a 4.5% increase from 120,164 jobs in 2021. Among states, Texas leads the nation with about 26,000 wind energy jobs. Texas was also the state with about half the wind energy capacity in 2022, with 4.2 GW installed.7 Other top wind energy job states include Illinois, Colorado, California, and Indiana. The top states for wind jobs tend to have high wind energy capacity as well as a strong manufacturing base.
Overall, 2022 saw a major decrease in wind installations with 8.5 GW installed, down from 13.4 GW in 2021. A key factor was the phasedown of the Production Tax Credit prior to the passage of the IRA. Supply chain challenges and interconnection delays also slowed deployment for wind projects.8
Despite this drawdown in installations, construction jobs in the wind sector increased by 1,717 over the previous year to 45,088 jobs in 2022. The industry is expected to rebound in future years due to the impact of the IRA. As a result, many firms are likely retaining skilled workers and stepping up recruitment to account for this anticipated demand. Meanwhile, jobs in offshore wind increased 20% last year to 1,056 jobs. This sector will continue to grow as the first commercial-scale offshore wind farms come online in 2023.
There were 54,595 jobs in traditional hydroelectric power in 2022, a 3% increase from the previous year. Low-impact hydropower had 11,677 jobs, roughly level with the year before. There were 8,635 jobs in geothermal energy in 2022, a 5% increase from the year before.
Other Clean Energy Technologies
Other jobs are in the development of grid technologies to facilitate the clean energy transition. In 2022, there were 19,845 jobs in microgrids, which typically refer to one or more interconnected loads, distributed energy resources, and energy storage systems within clearly defined electrical boundaries that can, if needed, operate independently from the grid. These jobs are in addition to solar energy jobs involved in the installation of microgrids.9 Another 24,916 jobs were in smart grid technologies.
Overall, the USEER found 132,917 jobs in clean energy transmission, distribution, and storage (which includes battery and other clean storage), smart grid, microgrid, EV charging, and miscellaneous categories.
By a wide margin, the largest number of clean energy jobs is in energy efficiency, which totaled 2.2 million jobs in 2022. Overall, there were 3.1 million jobs in net-zero energy technologies, an increase of 3.9% from 2021. Net-zero energy technologies include renewable energy generation, nuclear energy, and clean energy industries within energy efficiency and transmission, distribution, and storage.
- For example, if a worker spends 30% of his or her time on battery storage, 20% of the time on solar, and 10% of the time on nuclear power, this person would be classified as a battery storage worker.
- Andy Colthorpe, U.S. installed almost as much battery storage in 2022 as previous two years combined, Energy Storage News (Mar. 15, 2023), https://www.energy-storage.news/us-installed-almost-as-much-battery-storage-in-2022-as-previous-two-years-combined/.
- Wood Mackenzie/SEIA, US Solar Market Insight 2022 Year in Review.
- Maria Virginia Olano, Chart: EV sales on pace to break 1 million in US this year, Canary Media (Apr. 21, 2023), https://www.canarymedia.com/articles/electric-vehicles/chart-ev-sales-on-pace-to-break-1-million-in-us-this-year.
- Some EV manufacturing workers may not be included here if the batteries are manufactured in the same plants as the vehicles. These workers would be classified under a separate vehicles category. The construction category corresponds to the installation and project development sector for solar jobs. Professional and business services includes professional, scientific, and technical services; management of companies and enterprises; administrative and support; and waste management and remediation services. For solar jobs, the jobs in this category are split between wholesale trade and distribution, operations and maintenance, and the “all others” category.
- David Feldman et. al, Spring 2023 Solar Industry Update.
- American Clean Power, Clean Power Quarterly Market Report Q4 2022, https://cleanpower.org/resources/clean-power-quarterly-market-report-q4-2022/.
- American Clean Power, Clean Power Quarterly Market Report Q4 2022.
- Puerto Rico jobs are not included in the 2022 energy jobs data, except for jobs in the Puerto Rico solar industry. Therefore, while microgrid development is an area of growth in Puerto Rico, these jobs will not be reflected here.