Solar Is Shaking up the Job Market in an Amazing Way

Jobs have doubled in the past five years.


Solar is providing more jobs in the United States than the oil rigs and gas fields combined. The industry's added 35,000 jobs in 2015, according to the Solar Foundation's National Solar Job Census, bringing the U.S. solar workforce total to nearly 209,000.

The solar industry has once again proven to be a powerful engine of economic growth and job creation,” said Andrea Luecke, president and executive director of The Solar Foundation. “Employment in solar has grown an extraordinary 123 percent since 2010, adding approximately 115,000 well-paying jobs.”

While the solar industry has been gaining ground in the economy, the oil and gas extraction and pipeline construction industry has been showing losses.

“The U.S. solar power industry continues to grow and create jobs, providing further evidence that promoting economic growth and fighting climate change can go hand-in-hand. The Solar Jobs Census helps fuel this progress by offering policymakers and investors the clean energy data they need to make informed decisions,” said the three-term Mayor of New York City, Michael R. Bloomberg.

The future isn't in fossil fuels or coal — at least not in a sustainable future. The Paris Agreement was ambitious in its goals, aiming for a zero-carbon-emission economy to be established by the latter half of the 21st Century. But more than anything, the Agreement was a signal to businesses, confirming a commitment to renewable energy that the world is moving away from coal and fossil fuels.

A completely renewable future is attainable. Its rise will cause some to suffer losses in certain job markets, but it will create a wealth of opportunities in new areas.

Bill Nye ran some numbers: “If the state of West Virginia or the Commonwealth of West Virginia were to change from coal burning to wind energy and solar voltaics, photovoltaics, soaking up sunlight to make electricity or even some concentrated solar where you concentrate sunlight and make heat, they would have 50,000 jobs over at least the next 20 years.” Compare this number with the 30,000 coal jobs in West Virginia.

The issue here is bridging the political divide. After years of politics, Uruguay's parties decided to commit to a long-term energy policy — one that has benefited the nation greatly. The country reported 95 percent of its electricity now comes from renewable energy.

***

Natalie has been writing professionally for about 6 years. After graduating from Ithaca College with a degree in Feature Writing, she snagged a job at PCMag.com where she had the opportunity to review all the latest consumer gadgets. Since then she has become a writer for hire, freelancing for various websites. In her spare time, you may find her riding her motorcycle, reading YA novels, hiking, or playing video games. Follow her on Twitter: @nat_schumaker

Photo Credit: John Moore / Getty Staff 

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