Solar Energy Sector Job Growth

There are companies today which install clean energy systems and are making progress in various social and environmental categories. They understand the importance of solar power. They understand the benefits solar power offers our planet. Looking into current solar news demonstrates that this is the case!


SolarCity: A Clean Energy-Focused Company That Understands Solar Power 

SolarCity is helping to make progress through their clean energy systems, which work to combat issues such as climate change while also creating access to energy in off-grid communities. The social and environmental impacts of solar power and clean energy are indisputable. As more information on the benefits of solar power and energy becomes available, it is easy to see why solar power jobs are beginning to become so popular.  

Solar Panels & Clean Energy 

When customers opt to use energy provided by solar power, they are able to lessen their electric-power carbon footprint. Solar power panels help to provide clean energy. Solar power employs a huge share of workers – as a matter of fact, solar power/energy is the biggest segment of workers in the electric power generation sector in the United States, as per findings from the U.S. Department of Energy. More information is provided below.  

New U.S. Energy and Employment Report 

new report (U.S. Energy and Employment Report) has been published in which the Department of Energy outlines the fact that energy efficiency and traditional energy sectors employ roughly 6.4 million persons in the U.S. Impressively, more than 300,000 new jobs were added to these sectors in 2016. This accounts for approximately 14% of jobs created in the country. Solar power jobs alone collectively employ roughly 374,000 persons (this includes PV and concentrating solar technologies).  

Here’s what this means in terms of the electric power workforce: solar accounts for 43% – a strong number. Fossil fuel employment is what follows, and it accounts for 22% of electric power employment. In terms of natural gas, coal and oil technologies, there are roughly 187,117 jobs. Surprisingly, analysis from the Department of Energy indicates that these numbers likely underestimate the true total number of employees in the solar panel industry. This is because labor market data does not essentially account for construction jobs or financed projects directed by utilities. In the present year, solar power employers anticipate increasing solar power-related employment by 7% – another impressive number when it comes to solar power.   

Solar power jobs work to combine innovation, compassion and conservation. Jobs in solar power are on the rise in numerous places.  

Solar Power Jobs in Minnesota 

According to the SCTimes, “Clean Energy Economy Minnesota released an analysis showing that Minnesota gained just under 2,900 clean energy jobs over the last year, a growth rate almost four times faster than the rest of our economy.”  

Here is what this means: the clean energy sector currently employs more than 57,000 people across Minnesota, and more than 1,000 persons in Stearns County, MN alone.  

It is noteworthy that the United States’ first large-scale solar power plants were concentrating solar power plants. These were built in the 1980s and 1990s in the desert of California and remain among the biggest solar power plants on Earth. Clearly, solar power plants are not going anywhere.  

Solar Power & Clean Energy Jobs Create Money-Saving Opportunities  

Jobs in clean energy could entail energy efficiency, alternative fuels, solar power and more. A reinvestment is being made in the economy by creating more jobs, specifically in solar power. Customers taking advantage of solar power find that they are not only taking advantage of clean energy and helping the environment, but they are saving on monthly bills, making solar power even more desirable. The state of Minnesota, utilized as a point of reference, is having its water and air cleaned up. Vacant roof space is being covered with solar panels thanks to businesses such as Virnig and Winkelman Building Company. The end result is that solar power is saving thousands of dollars in monthly electric bills – specifically with Virnig, they are seeing the ability to save approximately half of their monthly electric bills, which are in the ballpark of $13,000. Many ask what happens during hotter months, when cooling down properties is important. There is a reduced need to cool buildings thanks to a heat shield impact which is made by the solar array. Problem solved. Solar power truly does have many benefits – solar power is the way of the future. Companies are leveraging solar power and its benefits to make the world cleaner and better.  

Looking at more numbers continues to reveal that, yes, solar power jobs outnumber electrical power jobs, and this is the direction in which we will continue to travel. As mentioned, the solar power industry employed more Americans than the coal industry in 2016 – just last year. We can dig even deeper into these numbers. The vast majority of Americans working in solar energy (approximately 70%) spend most of their time working on solar projects, according to an article published in the New York Times. Solar energy and solar power jobs focus on construction, installation and manufacturing. Solar power generated a small share of energy output from the United States in 2016.  

The fact is that coal has been the primary energy source when it comes to the generation of electricity for decades in the United States. It was previously forecasted that 2016 would be the first year in which natural gas exceeded coal generation on a yearly basis in the United States. In April of 2015, natural gas exceeded coal generation on a monthly basis for the first time. On the other hand, since 2012, the coal industry has been shedding jobs. The reason? Competition from solar power or cheap natural gas – solar power is what people want.  

Coal Generation Share Has Dropped – Solar Power Gains Popularity  

Low natural gas prices throughout a large part of 2012 led to a rise in the natural gas generation share, which frequently displaced coal-fired generation. Coal regained some of its share in 2013 and 2014 as a result of higher natural gas prices. But in 2015, coal’s generation share once again dropped with the return of a decrease in natural gas prices. Coal’s declining generation share over the course of the last ten years can also be attributed to environmental regulations which impact power plants.  

The Clean Power Plan could potentially take effect five years from now in 2022, and this will leave coal plant owners facing big decisions in order to reduce the release of carbon dioxide, which is coming from fuel-fired power plants. Of course, this is something President Trump recently announced he wants to repeal. President Trump might recognize the importance of creating energy jobs, but the focus must shift to the role of renewable power. The focus must shift, specifically, to solar power. Obviously, many companies are already aware of the importance of shifting to solar power. Now, it’s a matter of ensuring everyone else is on board with regards to understanding what a difference solar power makes and what a difference solar power will continue to make.  

Clean Power Plan: What Is It and What Is the Relation to Solar Power Jobs?  

The Clean Power Plan would lessen carbon pollution from power plants. It would do this while maintaining energy affordability. It would create national standards addressing power plants and carbon pollution. The Clean Power Plan would cut large amounts of carbon pollution and other pollutants which lead to smog, from power plants – it would do this while progressing clean energy development and innovation (think: solar power). This is important in tackling climate change. States and utilities will be provided with plentiful flexibility and time required to accomplish pollution cuts. The power sector will be able to optimize a decrease in pollution while sustaining an inexpensive supply of electricity. The Clean Power Plan doesn’t assume that fossil fuels will no longer be important with the further development of solar power; on the contrary, it anticipates that fossil fuels will remain an important component of the future. However, the Clean Power Plan will ensure that fossil fuel-fired power plants will be clean and efficient while utilizing low-emitting sources of power. The goal is affordable power for everyone in the United States and a cleaner planet. The goal is to continue to focus on solar power and solar power job creation. It is with good reason that solar power jobs outnumber electrical power jobs today.  

Here are some final facts about solar power: 

  1. Solar power jobs currently outnumber electrical power jobs. 
  1. Solar power job include but are not limited to solar power engineering, manufacturing for solar power, solar power plant development, scientific research in solar power, solar power plant operations, solar power plant construction, solar power installation and maintenance and solar photovoltaic installers. 
  1. Solar power saves money. 
  1. Solar power can halt or stop global warming. Solar power is fundamental in the effort to make the planet cleaner. 
  1. Solar power offers energy reliability.  
  1. Solar power creates jobs, as seen in solar power job growth over recent years.  

Solar power will continue to create jobs, and we will continue to see that solar power jobs outnumber electrical power jobs. Our planet is heading in the right direction thanks to people understanding the importance of solar power and renewable energy. Following solar news will continuously reveal improvements and developments when it comes to solar power jobs. Solar power jobs will continue to see a surge, and our planet will thank us. Solar power jobs are creating a healthier environment for everyone while also lowering costs in terms of electric bills.  

Continue to follow the latest in solar news to stay up to date on the most recent information and advancements in regards to solar power and solar power-focused jobs – the information is fascinating and worth understanding. Solar news is becoming quite popular, and it’s easy to see why! 

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Photo Source: Political Economy Research Institute at University of Massachusetts  

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Carissa lives in Florida with her dachshund and enjoys traveling all over the country. She has been a writer for more than a decade, previously having worked for the Walt Disney Company. Her interests include exploring National Parks, hiking, crafting and cooking.


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