Growth of clean energy jobs, 2019 to 2050

As nearly $400 billion in Inflation Reduction Act investments boost renewable energy projects, much of the economic benefits are going to rural America. Utility scale wind energy and solar require significant real estate — commonly available in rural areas.

This means that wind-tech and solar-tech jobs will require a rural workforce, and are expected to become a game changer for rural economies — many green energy jobs are higher paying than average jobs for rural communities. For example, the median annual pay for wind techs is about $62,000 — a comparatively high paying job relative to the rural per capita income of  $49,895 for 2021 (the last year for which data is available). Urban per capita income for the same period was $66,440, so that puts rural wind techs in line with per capita income for America’s urban population, while many rural areas offer a lower cost of living than urban communities. Solar tech job median pay ranges from $48,000/year for solar PV installers to just under $62,000 for solar electricians that install and maintain control systems.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), solar related jobs are expected to grow 6 percent in the next decade. Wind tech jobs are expected to grow a whopping 45 percent during the same time period. See the U.S. wind energy forecast here.

The next Solar Jobs Census will be released this summer. The most recent report from 2022 found that the U.S. solar industry employs 263,883 solar workers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico as of 2022. This represents an increase of 8,846 jobs, or 3.5% growth since 2021, according to the National Solar Jobs Census.

Solar Industry by the Numbers


Solar workers in 2022


Solar jobs added, 2021-2022


States with solar job growth, 2022

Key findings:

As policy changes delayed large scale solar projects and reduced jobs in that market by about 6,000, the residential solar market grew by about 9,500 jobs. Almost half of solar industry employers reported difficulty finding qualified job applicants.

More about job opportunities in renewable energy:

Learn about jobs in clean energy industries

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Chart: data from Princeton Net Zero America Project