Where the Jobs Are: Renewable Energy

In recent years investment in renewable energy has grown for a number of reasons, including increased efficiencies, government policies, and the environmental movement. Regardless of the myriad of reasons, renewable energy has created jobs in the U.S. Based on data from the 2010 Brookings Institution report, “Sizing the Clean Economy,” there are approximately 130,000 jobs attributed to the renewable energy sectors, which are defined as hydropower, wind, solar, biofuel, geothermal, and wave/ocean power. Of those 130,000 jobs, 58 percent or 74,505 jobs are attributed to biofuel, solar energy (photovoltaic and thermal), and wind power, which is the focus of this article. These jobs can be found in manufacturing, maintenance of the operating facility, regulation, and research and engineering.

These roughly 75,000 jobs included 20,680 in biofuel, 29,531 in solar energy (photovoltaic and thermal), and 24,294 in wind. Renewable energy jobs grew an astounding 118.6 percent from 2003 to 2010, with wind power having the highest rate at 164 percent.


Following are charts that identify the top 10 states for renewable job creation in 2010.

  • California and Colorado are the only two states that rank in the top 10 for all three forms of renewable energy job creation.
  • California leads the nation for creating 13,000 renewable energy jobs and New York follows with 7,716.
  • New York, Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Ohio are the only states to rank in the top ten in two types of renewable energy job creation.
  • The mid western states lead in biofuel job generation.


How does your state stack up? By hovering over the States in the map below, you can explore each state’s rank, the number of jobs in 2003 and 2010, and the associated growth rate over that timeframe.

United States Map