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Solar Industry Salaries: What are solar jobs paying as we start 2024?

Solar Jobs in 2024

As we recently highlighted in our January 2024 solar news roundup, 2024 is off to a mixed start.  While the medium and longer term future of solar is incredibly promising, the short-term is seeing challenges that are impacting installations across the country, and with that, job opportunities.  However, there are still thousands of jobs available in the industry despite the current headwinds.  

Understanding Solar Salary Data

In this post, we'll jump into the salary data in order to understand what the current trends are in solar as of January 2024.  Note that we are using data from the salary ranges on our job postings over at our Work In Solar Job Board. As employers only disclose ranges, this is not a perfect science, but is a meaningful signal for what you can expect to earn.  Currently, 8 states require that employers post their salary ranges on their job postings: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Nevada, New York, Rhode Island, and Washington.  Some counties and cities also require salaries to be posted like Cincinnati and Jersey City.  Other employers choose to disclose their salary ranges because they know they are likely to get more relevant applicants (who know what they are signing up for).

Salaries can have a very wide range, making it difficult to truly know what you would be paid if you received an offer tomorrow (for example, a current job listing for an electrician has an hourly rate between $15 / hour and $52 / hour, presumably based upon experience).  Additionally, solar sales roles are primarily compensated by commission, which generally won’t be included in the salary range, but some employers do include potential commission.  We have normalized annual salaries into hourly salaries to compare apples to apples.

Understanding what these salaries can be is critical to your career planning and making sure that you receive a fair wage for your work.  The industry is poised to grow massively in the next decade, so if you are transitioning into solar, make sure to weigh growth opportunities and understand salaries for your role and location.

What are Solar Jobs Paying in 2024?

We have plotted the available salary ranges below with the minimum, maximum, and the midpoint of the salary ranges for all jobs and locations in solar today (as we mentioned above, this is not perfectly representative of the industry because many states do not require salary ranges to be posted on their job postings).  

Let’s first take a look at the distribution of the minimum salary ranges: 

Solar Minimum Salary Distribution

The overall average of the industry is $36.5 / hour with the bulk of job postings in the $15-35 / hour range.  It’s interesting to note the spike in $45-$50, which are typically mid-level and experienced positions.  There is a long-tail of salaries with some very experienced roles like Utility Project Developers earning over $100 / hour.

We can also look at the same chart based on the max of the salary range listed:

Solar Max Salary Distribution

Employers will rarely offer the max salary listed to a new employee, so this is the best possible scenario.  The average based on the max is $54 / hour.  You’ll see there are many more jobs that state you can earn over $100 / hour.  Digging into the data, most of these are solar sales jobs, which may have benchmarked off the top performance of their top representatives.  While it may be achievable to earn these hourly rates, it should not be your expectation if you are just starting out in sales

To get a more realistic view of what you can expect to earn, we took the midpoint of the min and the max of the salary ranges on all job postings:  

Solar Average Salary Distribution

Here, we can see that the overall average is $44 / hour.  The distribution skews heavily towards jobs in the $20-$40 / hour range.  These are primarily entry-level jobs.  While this is not a perfect metric, this gives us a very good signal of what you can expect to earn.  Some salary ranges listed may be 100% higher than their minimum, while other employers list the exact salary you will be offered as both the min and the max of the range.  

How well do Solar Jobs pay compared to other industries?

If we use the benchmark above of $44 / hour from the midpoint of available salary data for the solar industry, we can compare this to broader earnings data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  As of December 2023, the BLS states that the average hourly wage for all private enterprises in the United States is $34 / hour.  This means that solar jobs are currently paying about 30% more than the nation-wide average.

The BLS also provides a breakdown of hourly wages by macro industries.  Construction’s average wage is $37 / hour, implying solar still has about a 20% premium over the broader construction industry.   Manufacturing jobs earn an average of $33 / hour.

All this to show that Solar is a well-paying industry with many job opportunities.  Of course, roles and wages vary dramatically by your experience level, job category, and location, so looking at overall averages will not give you a clear picture of your earnings potential in the industry.

In following blog posts, we’ll dive deeper into the data, breaking down the salary ranges by categories, experience, and location (where available data exists).  Subscribe to our blog to stay up to date on the latest in Solar and Salary Trends.  


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