California’s economy is cleanest and greenest (i.e., has the highest concentration of clean jobs and green jobs) in power generation due to its performance in solar energy generation. The state’s 124,817 solar power jobs accounted for more than one-third of American jobs in that sector in 2019—roughly three times more concentrated in these jobs than would be expected based on national economic trends. In terms of solar industry specialization as measured by location quotient, California trails only Nevada and outperforms sunny Hawaii.
With an LQ of 1.68 California has a smaller, but significant, specialization in traditional hydroelectric power production. Wind power has a smaller specialization in the state with only 6,273 wind power workers—well fewer than would be expected, based on its population. Only 14 states have lower wind power LQs.
In comparison to renewable power sources, California’s fossil-fuel portfolio provides a much smaller source of jobs. Only 22,901 jobs were involved in fossil fuel (including coal, natural gas, and oil) power production in 2019. Solar production generally creates more jobs per megawatt generated than traditional energy production: nationally, there are more solar energy production jobs (334,992) than in all fossil fuels combined (211,462).