June, 2008 / page 1
Solar Study / 2008
In 2008, the Centers of Excellence conducted a survey of 212 solar and solar-related businesses
throughout California, with regional perspectives for northern and southern California. Executive interviews,
the creation of a solar employer database, and survey findings enabled the COE to identify the regions
within California that exhibited the greatest need for workers: the Bay Area; the Greater Sacramento
area; Southern California; and Los Angeles County.
Solar-related firms in California employ between
14,500 and 17,000 workers.
– 70% of surveyed employers plan to hire more
employees over the next 12 months.
– Solar-related firms are expecting to increase
employment by up to 29% or approximately
Partnering with multiple industry association groups
and related research enabled the compilation of a
solar employer database. As a result, the COE was
able to identify approximately 770 solar
• According to the survey, 86% of solar-
related firms are relatively small
businesses—less than 25 employees.
• The majority of solar-related firms (90-
95%) are non-manufacturing; this group
includes installers, contractors (where solar
is a component of the business) and
distributors of solar energy equipment.
Mapping the location of the businesses revealed
employer concentrations in four regions:
• 33% in Bay Area
• 16% in Greater Sacramento
• 26% in Southern California*
• 14% in Los Angeles*
• 11% balance of state
*Southern California data includes: San Diego, Imperial, Orange,
Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura and Los Angeles counties. Los
Angeles figure represents percent of county to statewide data.
June, 2008 / page 2
Regional Distribution of Employers