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National Solar
Jobs Census 2022

With expanded jobs data on energy storage
and other clean energy industries

July 2023

Solar Jobs by State | State Policy Developments | Spotlight: Puerto Rico

Solar Jobs by State

Solar jobs grew in 42 states and Puerto Rico in 2022. The state with the most jobs added in 2022 was California, the nation’s largest solar market, with 2,404 jobs added. This was followed by New York, Texas, Florida, and Massachusetts. California also added the most new solar capacity in 2022 (5.1 GW), followed by Texas (3.6 GW) and Florida (1.9 GW).1 Texas not only led the nation in utility-scale solar growth but also saw its best year ever for residential solar. New York stands out as the nation’s top state for community solar, with over 500 MW in new capacity. 

A number of states in emerging markets have seen rapid solar job growth in the past five years. States with high growth rates since 2017 include Illinois (58%), Florida (43%), Virginia (33%), New York (28%), Texas (27%), and Georgia (25%).

Below is a map of solar jobs by state, including growth over time and by solar industry sector. Click on the state and scroll down for a link to fact sheets with more information, including state-based policy trends and jobs in other clean energy industries.

You can also access fact sheets on jobs in the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

Photo Courtesy of Nextracker

State Policy Developments

State policy trends on solar energy moved in different directions in 2022. In December, California finalized long-anticipated changes to its net metering program. This means that new residential solar customers will no longer be compensated based on retail rates for the energy they send back to the grid. Instead, they will be repaid based on avoided cost rates, amounting to a 75% reduction in compensation on average.2

The California market picked up through April 2023 as customers raced to submit interconnection applications before the new rules took effect. However, state residential installations are expected to drop 38% in 2024.3 Since California makes up about one-third of the U.S. residential market, this will have the effect of slowing residential installations nationwide. The new rules should also incentivize the growth of solar paired with battery storage.4

Other states continued to water down net metering policies which previously helped consumers benefit from solar generated on their rooftops. In 2022, there were 94 state policy actions concerning distributed generation compensation policies.5 Many of these were efforts to reduce compensation for excess power customers export back to the grid, and/or to vary the compensation based on factors such as the time of day. 

Meanwhile, other states adjusted policies to improve benefits for low-to-moderate income (LMI) customers. In one example, Mississippi increased the payment to LMI households for solar electricity exported back to the grid.6 It remains to be seen if this will spur rooftop solar development, as most solar in Mississippi has been derived from utility-scale projects.

Also, 79 state actions in 2022 addressed community solar.7 Many of these actions made it easier to develop community solar and/or encourage LMI participation. New Mexico regulators approved new community solar rules in 2022 following a new state law enacted the previous year. The rules set an initial capacity limit of 200 MW and require at least 30% of projects be allocated to low-income subscribers and organizations.8

In a related tack, New Mexico’s Public Regulation Commission adopted updated interconnection rules which could help spur community solar development. Informed by recommendations from  IREC’s regulatory team, they align with national best practices including ways to more effectively evaluate energy storage for interconnection and increased eligibility for the “fast track” interconnection process.9

Spotlight: Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico has experienced rapid growth in solar deployment over the past three years, as residents look to save on energy bills and build resilience against power outages and natural disasters. Solar installations increased from 46 MW in 2020 to 114 MW in 2021 to 173 MW in 2022. Most of the installed capacity (92% in 2022) has been in the residential sector, and nearly all new installations have included battery storage.10

Solar jobs are also growing in Puerto Rico, but not in line with the 52% growth in installed capacity over the past year. In 2022, there were 2,107 jobs, a 6% increase over the 1,985 jobs in 2021. Ironically, a surge in “promised” financial incentives appears to have hit the pause button on job growth. At the end of 2022 and beginning of 2023, muddled messaging around the incentives led many customers to hold off on installing solar in hopes of getting a free system (the incentives only apply to very low-income households). As a result, solar companies had to cut staff. As the information fog has cleared, the market is picking back up.

Photo Courtesy of Sunrun

Looking forward, Puerto Rico is embracing the use of distributed generation to help stabilize the power grid. In the latter half of 2023, Sunrun plans to launch a demand response program whereby rooftop solar-plus-storage customers can provide backup power during emergencies. With over 75,000 grid-connected rooftop systems, homes and businesses are well positioned to support Puerto Rico’s struggling electric grid, which is still primarily based on centralized fossil fuel plants. The electric utility operator, LUMA, has dedicated funding for 6,000 residential battery owners to support demand response.11

Sunrun was also selected to build a 17 MW virtual power plant (VPP) with 7,000 rooftop systems. The utility will compensate customers for this service, expected to launch in 2024. Unlike the demand response system, the VPP is intended to provide baseload power daily as well as backup power for emergencies.12

Sunnova is also getting into Puerto Rico VPPs. In April 2023, DOE’s Loan Programs Office made a conditional commitment for a $3 billion partial loan guarantee to the company to provide solar and storage and make VPP software available to U.S. households. Sunnova intends to provide 20% of project loans to Puerto Rican homeowners.13 

Local solar financing infrastructure is also responding to the growth in the industry. Locally chartered credit unions, known as cooperativas, have increased their solar-plus-storage loan activity, from 1,376 loans in 2021 to 2,138 loans in 2022 for over $58 million in 2022 financing.14 

Thanks to SOLV Energy for providing generous support for the Solar Jobs Census. SOLV Energy is an EPC and solar services provider for utility solar, high-voltage substation, and energy storage markets across North America. SOLV Energy has built and manages over 11 GW of solar capacity in more than 25 states.
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  1. Wood Mackenzie/SEIA, US Solar Market Insight Q2 2023 Report.
  2. David Feldman et al, Spring 2023 Solar Industry Update.
  3. Wood Mackenzie/SEIA, US Solar Market Insight 2022 Year in Review
  4. Julian Spector, Battery firms set to thrive under new California rooftop solar regime, Canary Media (Apr. 28, 2023), https://www.canarymedia.com/articles/batteries/battery-firms-set-to-thrive-under-new-california-rooftop-solar-regime.
  5. NC Clean Energy Technology Center, 50 States of Solar: Q4 Quarterly Report & 2022 Annual Review Executive Summary (Jan. 2023), https://nccleantech.ncsu.edu/the-50-states-reports/.
  6. Normally, Mississippi customers are paid the avoided cost plus 2.5 cents per kWh. Schools and customers with incomes up to 225% of the federal poverty level will be eligible for a 2 cents per kWh adder. Bryan Jacob, Solar in the Southeast: 6th Annual report, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (June 2023), https://cleanenergy.org/wp-content/uploads/Solar-in-the-Southeast-Sixth-Annual-Report.pdf
  7. NC Clean Energy Technology Center, 50 States of Solar: Q4 Quarterly Report & 2022 Annual Review Executive Summary
  8. New Mexico Community Solar Program, About the Program, https://csnewmexico.com/about-the-program/ (accessed June 2023); New Mexico Register, Volume XXXIII, Issue 13 (July 12, 2022), https://www.nm-prc.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/17.9.573.pdf.
  9. Gwen Brown, New Mexico Pioneers Clean Energy Interconnection with New Rules, Interstate Renewable Energy Council (Dec. 7, 2022), https://irecusa.org/blog/regulatory-engagement/new-mexico-pioneers-clean-energy-interconnection-with-new-rules/.
  10. Wood Mackenzie/SEIA, US Solar Market Insight 2022 Year in Review.
  11. Maria Gallucci, Home batteries will help bolster Puerto Rico’s grid in emergencies, Canary Media (June 27, 2023), https://www.canarymedia.com/articles/solar/home-batteries-will-help-bolster-puerto-ricos-grid-in-emergencies.
  12. Sunrun (press release), Sunrun to Build and Operate Puerto Rico’s First Virtual Power Plant, A Customer-Driven Energy Solution (November 1, 2022), https://investors.sunrun.com/news-events/press-releases/detail/275/sunrun-to-build-and-operate-puerto-ricos-first-virtual.
  13. U.S. Department of Energy Loan Programs Office, LPO Offers First Conditional Commitment for a Virtual Power Plant to Sunnova’s Project Hestia, Including Loans for Puerto Rican Homeowners for Solar Installations (Apr. 26, 2023), https://www.energy.gov/lpo/articles/lpo-offers-first-conditional-commitment-virtual-power-plant-sunnovas-project-hestia-0.
  14. Information provided by the Corporacion Publica Para La Supervision Y Seguro De Cooperativas De Puerto Rico. IREC has released an updated report on solar finance in Puerto Rico with the Institute for Building Technology and Safety, available at https://irecusa.org/resources/an-assessment-of-opportunities-and-barriers-to-solar-finance-in-puerto-rico-second-edition/. The report highlights how Puerto Rico’s exponential growth in rooftop solar has been accompanied by a robust growth in financing options from cooperativas.