Growth and Higher Wages Make Solar the New Sector of Hope
A stunning statistic was revealed recently. When the sixth annual National Solar Jobs Census was released it showed the U.S. solar industry adding 12 times more jobs to the economy than the national average.
- In 2015 solar added 35,052 workers to its employment rolls.
- That’s a 20 percent increase in job growth -- compared to a national average of 1.7 percent.
As of today, January 2016, the solar industry employs 208,859 Americans.
- That’s more than the oil drilling industry, which only needs 187,200 workers to extract oil from the ground. (The extraction sector actually shrank, shedding 13,800 jobs in 2015).
- It’s bigger than the oil & gas pipeline construction industry, whose 129,500 workers were down 9,500 jobs in 2015 (ref.: the Bureau of Labor Statistics).
- It’s 3 times larger than the coal-mining sector, which employs only 67,929 people, according to JobsEQ 2015Q3.
Looking at the trend historically, solar’s contributions are even more impressive.
- Employment in solar has grown an extraordinary 123 percent since 2010, adding approximately 115,000 well-paying jobs.
These numbers support President Obama’s vision as declared in his final State of the Union address. Last month Obama urged American industry to look to renewable energy technology -- both wind and solar – to restore America’s economic ascendancy in the 21st century.
Renova Is Doing Its Part
Renova Solar is part of this revolution moving renewable tech into the center of the American economy.
- 2015 was the third year in a row that we were listed us among the Fastest Growing Privately Held Energy Companies in the country by Inc. Magazine.
- As of today we have 130 workers on our payroll.
Reviving the Middle Class
The most hopeful part of this story is what it means for ordinary Americans. Because solar jobs are the jobs of the future. They are the jobs that will restore a thriving middle class to America.
- Sales reps and solar designers average about $27 per hour.
- Solar installers are paid an average of $21 per hour.
- Assemblers in solar factories earn about $18 per hour.
These numbers are reminiscent of the scenario we saw back in the 1950s and 1960s, when sectors like the auto and aerospace industries made postwar Americans the first viable middle class in the world. That era created a lifestyle for Americans that was unrivalled in human history. It became the envy of – and a model for -- the entire industrialized world.
Solar jobs are the opposite of the kind of minimum-wage jobs that have been eviscerating America’s middle class during the last 40 years.
A Brighter Future
As we move through 2016 into the future the picture is only getting brighter.
- Solar employers expect to add more than 30,000 jobs over the next 12 months.
- U.S. solar workers would number 239,625 by the end of 2016.
- That would signify an even higher rate of increase for solar -- 14.7%.
“Solar is surging,” affirms former U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis.
“Renewable energy deployment is on track to transform our world,” she continues, “helping to lessen our reliance on coal and other polluting fossil fuels. Solar’s growth will continue to be robust in coming years. With wider solar adoption, thousands more high-quality jobs will be added to the economy….[Solar’s popularity] will propel us forward and advance our economic and environmental goals.”