SOLAR = JOBS

It is indisputable that renewable energy, and solar energy in particular, represent an important part of our future energy mix in the United States. Even if environmental impacts are completely removed from the equation, renewable energy represents an important contribution to our nation’s economic and strategic success. Improved domestic energy security, less exposure to fluctuations in commodity fuel prices, and significant growth in white collar and blue collar jobs are just a few of the benefits gained by enacting policies that enable renewable energy. Renewable energy job growth has exceeded the national figures during the past two years, and represents the largest single growth industry. Today, the clean energy sector employs more Americans than the fossil fuel industry.

Overall Job Creation

The most proven methods for enabling job growth include three facets.  (1) Have attractive infrastructure, which includes transportation, energy, and communications, along with availability of general, semi-skilled, and skilled labor, plus technical, engineering, and white collar labor.  (2) Have a growth-friendly business climate in terms of incentives for job growth, and reasonable tax and regulatory policies.  (3) Target and attract emerging and growth industries as these industries include a mix of established firms and entrepreneurial start-ups.  These are the kind of companies that venture capital invests in, bringing outside investment dollars into a state.  These industries also provide a migration path for workers displaced from industries that are declining.

Solar Energy is a Growth Industry

It is indisputable that renewable energy, and solar energy in particular, represent an important part of our future energy mix in the United States.  Even if environmental impacts are completely removed from the equation, renewable energy represents an important contribution to our nation’s economic and strategic success.  Improved domestic energy security, less exposure to fluctuations in commodity fuel prices, and significant growth in white collar and blue collar jobs are just a few of the benefits gained by enacting policies that enable renewable energy.  Renewable energy job growth has exceeded the national figures during the past two years, and represents the largest single growth industry.  Today, the clean energy sector employs more Americans than the fossil fuel industry.

Solar Energy Creates More Jobs per MW Than Any Other Energy Technology

Whether wind or solar, biomass or geothermal, renewable fuels are indigenous, home-grown energy. The fuels themselves are often free. Instead of sending our public and private investments overseas to purchase polluting commodities of finite supply, development of renewable energy invests directly in people, substituting labor for fuel expenses. It is this fundamental fact that underscores projections that renewable energy technologies can provide, on average, four to six times as many jobs as equivalent investments in fossil fuels when manufacturing, installation and operations and maintenance jobs are all accounted for. For example, natural gas power plants generate only about one job per megawatt (MW) during construction and ongoing operations and maintenance, while equivalent investments in solar photovoltaic power technologies would generate over seven jobs per MW.

Solar Jobs Sprout More Quickly

While many energy generation types take years in order to collect wind data, pursue complex permitting and environmental studies, etc., a solar energy project can go from an idea to shovels in the ground in just a few months.