Recent News

By Tag

See all

By Month

See all

California has Largest Advanced Energy Industry in U.S., with over 430,000 Workers, according to First-Ever State Employment Survey

Posted by Industry News on Dec 4, 2014

With more than 40,000 businesses and 430,000 workers, advanced energy is a bigger employer in the state than the motion picture, television, and radio industries, mining and quarrying, semiconductors, and aerospace – and is projected to grow 17 percent in the coming year


SAN FRANCISCO, CA, December 4, 2014 – California is home to the largest advanced energy industry in the country, according to the first-ever industry-wide survey released today by the Advanced Energy Economy Institute. At 431,800 jobs today, advanced energy is bigger by employment in California than the motion picture, television, and radio industries; mining and quarrying; semiconductors; and aerospace. Advanced energy jobs grew 5 percent in the past year – more than double the overall state job growth rate – and is on track to grow 17 percent in the coming year, to more than 500,000 workers, based on employer hiring plans.


While California is widely recognized as a national leader in energy policy, jobs directly related to the industry have not been quantified until now. The survey of more than 2,000 businesses, conducted by BW Research Partnership, a leading workforce and economic development research firm, found that, among the 10 states that have studied these industries, California has the largest advanced energy workforce in the country. It is also second in the country, tied with Massachusetts, for percentage of the state’s overall workforce employed in advanced energy, at 2.4 percent; only Vermont, at 4.3 percent, has a higher concentration of workers in this broad economic sector.


“California is the nation’s leader in advanced energy policy, that much we already knew,” said Graham Richard, CEO of AEE and the AEE Institute. “Now we also know that California is on the way to half a million people employed in the advanced energy industry by next year. Advanced energy companies are not only making California’s energy system better and cleaner. They are also creating jobs and contributing toward economic prosperity for the state.”


The full California Advanced Energy Survey is available at


Findings of the California Advanced Energy Employment Survey include:

  • California is home to 43,700 businesses serving advanced energy markets.
  • Advanced energy employs 431,800 Californians – an increase of 5 percent over 2013, which is more than double the rate of overall state job growth of 2.2 percent and about three times the national job growth rate of 1.6 percent.
  • About half of all advanced energy-related companies surveyed expect to add employees during the coming year, for more than 70,000 new jobs – a 17 percent projected increase over the coming year, pushing advanced energy employment past a half-million jobs in 2015.


“California is an acknowledged leader nationally in energy and climate policy,” said Mary Nichols, Chair of the California Air Resources Board. “Now it can be said with certainty that we are a national leader in advanced energy businesses and employment as well.”


“The AEE Institute’s report is further proof that California’s economy is thriving – not in spite of our climate change goals but because of them,” said GO-Biz director Kish Rajan. “California is the national leader in the advanced energy economy and that leadership is contributing to significant job growth across multiple sectors in every region of the state.”


Overall, building energy efficiency is the largest segment of the advanced energy industry, supported by California’s policy commitment to energy conservation, advanced building codes, and energy efficiency incentives. More than 300,000 Californians are employed making buildings, homes and businesses more energy efficient.


“California’s leadership on energy efficiency has spurred innovation across the state and has enabled companies to flourish,” said Alex Laskey, President of Opower. “There is a huge and growing opportunity in California for energy efficiency to have a positive impact on the environment, on households savings, and on job creation.”


“Making California more energy efficient saves money for businesses and households and protects the environment,” said California State Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego). “It is also an important contributor to jobs and the economy – truly a win-win for the state of California.”


The survey also showed that advanced electricity generation technologies, including wind and solar power, are major components of the advanced energy economy in California. Nearly 73,000 people are employed in the solar industry in California, full or part-time. Growth over the past 12 months has been particularly dramatic, with workers spending more than half their time on solar up 16 percent from last year.


“For nearly 30 years, SunPower has been proud to call California our home, while developing innovative clean energy technologies and creating California jobs and economic opportunity,” said Howard Wenger, president of business units for SunPower, a global provider of solar technology and energy services. “The future of the advanced energy industry in California is bright, and we look forward to continuing our work providing clean and affordable energy solutions.”


Though employment totals are smaller, advanced grid technologies, especially electric vehicle and energy storage, have also established footholds in the California economy.


“Electric vehicle adoption in California is well ahead of the rest of the country,” said Thomas Ashley, Director, Utility & Regulatory Affairs, PlugShare. “That makes California an ideal place to provide app-based electric vehicle services and smart charging programs to integrate electric vehicles and the electricity grid. Our company is growing and sees significant potential.”


“California is sending a clear signal to the private sector with our state’s climate change and clean energy policies, and businesses are responding by innovating and creating jobs,” said Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills).


 “With double the job growth rate of the state and three times that of the nation, advanced energy is a major player in job creation in California,” said Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles). “This survey demonstrates that policy supporting advanced energy is not just good for California’s environment but is also good for jobs and our economy.”


In addition to the statewide data, California Advanced Energy Employment Survey highlights significant regional distinctions:

  • The bulk of advanced energy employment is found in Southern California and the Greater San Francisco Bay Area, but the highest concentration of advanced energy workers (3.8 percent of all jobs) is found in the Inland Empire, due to the utility-scale wind and solar installations in the region, such as the 350 megawatt Soda Mountain Solar Project and 615 MW San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm.
  • Southern California accounts for 43 percent (nearly 130,000) of energy efficiency jobs statewide, with much of this employment connected to the construction boom. But Southern California also has more than 30 percent of the state’s wind energy jobs, driven by the wind farms in Kern, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Imperial Counties, along with the related manufacturing and professional services that comprise the wind energy value chain.
  • In the Greater San Francisco Bay Area, advanced energy employment is concentrated in the San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont metropolitan area, with 67 percent of the advanced energy jobs in the region, versus 24 percent in Silicon Valley. The San Francisco MSA is home to more corporate headquarters of established advanced energy companies, as well as firms engaged in professional services, such as consulting and finance. The San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara MSA, by contrast, hosts more early-stage startups focused on technology development rather than deployment.



About Advanced Energy Economy

Advanced Energy Economy is a national association of businesses that are making the global energy system more secure, clean and affordable. Advanced energy encompasses a broad range of products and services that constitute the best available technologies for meeting energy needs today and tomorrow. AEE’s mission is to transform public policy to enable rapid growth of advanced energy businesses. AEE and its State Partner organizations, which are active in 23 states across the country, represent more than 1,000 organizations in the advanced energy industry.




Press Contacts:

Krista Alestock

463 Communications

(202) 463-0060


Stephanie Yoder

(916) 802-6240


Marika Rose

(916) 601-9737          




Topics: Press Releases