Quantcast

The Solar Revolution Is for Everyone

Insights + Opinion

Solar companies like GRID Alternatives are changing lives, and Solar Energy Industries Association captured it on film during a job fair at Solar Power International in Anaheim, California in September.

The U.S. solar industry employs 174,000 Americans nationwide, but this number is so much more than a piece of data. This number represents the people who are directly behind an energy revolution, whose stories encapsulate the very essence of solar’s character.

When it comes to both ethnic and gender diversity, the solar industry surpasses the oil, gas and coal industries. Photo credit: GRID Alternatives

174,000 are transforming America.

The solar workforce is diversifying our nation’s power grid—through the rooftops of your homes, your community’s solar gardens, churches and businesses and through your utility’s large-scale solar plants.

Their work updating America’s electric grid with 21st century technologies, like solar, is offering consumers more choices and diversifying our power sources.

But what 174,000 does not immediately represent is the growing diversity of people behind the number. According to The Solar Foundation’s most recent jobs census, solar is for everyone.

When it comes to both ethnic and gender diversity, the solar industry surpasses the oil, gas and coal industries. For example, at 16.3 percent, the solar industry’s employment rate for Latino or Hispanic individuals is three percentage points higher than the entire U.S. employment rate for Latinos or Hispanics. Women also account for 21.6 percent of the solar industry’s total workforce.

With the demand for solar energy now higher than ever, the workforce is projected to grow by more than 36,000 jobs by the end of the year alone. And the industry is ramping up its training and recruitment opportunities to ensure its workforce continues to be as diverse as its consumers.

In fact, the solar industry is committed to becoming the most diverse energy sector in the nation, as Americans from all walks of life take advantage of the benefits of solar and its cascading price tag.

Solar already employs a higher percentage rate of veterans than the total U.S. workforce, but the industry upped the ante this spring by committing to having 50,000 U.S. veterans working in solar by 2020.

But the industry cannot keep its commitment to provide well-paying jobs for more Americans if Congress makes a wrong decision on a looming federal policy. The solar investment tax credit (ITC) provides a 30 percent tax credit to commercial and residential solar users, which has helped the solar industry crack 22 gigawatts for the first time in history this summer.

Under the policy, total U.S. solar capacity is expected to double over the next two years. But if the ITC is allowed to expire from its current levels on Dec. 31, 2016, 100,000 jobs could be lost nationwide.

There is more work to do, and more Americans who are eager to help solar drive America to its new clean energy future. Tell Congress 174,000 isn’t enough.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Don’t Let Wall Street Leave You Behind: It’s Time to Divest From Fossil Fuels

26% of the World Will Run on Renewables by 2020, Says IEA

Koch Brothers + 11 Other Special Interest Groups Wage War on Solar

Bloomberg Analysis: It Has Never Made Less Sense to Build Fossil Fuel Power Plants

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pixabay

By Emilie Karrick Surrusco

Across the globe, extreme weather is becoming the new normal.

Read More Show Less
A worker in California sprays pesticides on strawberries, one of the crops on which chlorpyrifos is used. Paul Grebliunas / The Image Bank / Getty Images Plus

President Donald Trump's U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will not ban the agricultural use of chlorpyrifos, a toxic pesticide that the EPA's own scientists have linked to brain damage in children, The New York Times reported Thursday.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Golde Wallingford submitted this photo of "Pure Joy" to EcoWatch's first photo contest. Golde Wallingford

EcoWatch is pleased to announce our third photo contest!

Read More Show Less
Conservationists estimate the orange-fronted parakeet population has likely doubled. Department of Conservation

Up until 25 years ago, New Zealand's orange-fronted parakeet, or kākāriki karaka, was believed to be extinct. Now, it's having one of its best breeding seasons in decades, NPR reported Thursday.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

The world's population will hit 10 billion in just 30 years and all of those people need to eat. To feed that many humans with the resources Earth has, we will have to cut down the amount of beef we eat, according to a new report by the World Resources Institute.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

Beachgoers enjoying a pleasant evening on Georgia's St. Simons Island rushed into the water, despite warnings of sharks, to rescue dozens of short-finned pilot whales that washed ashore on Tuesday evening, according to the New York Times.

Read More Show Less

Six Extinction Rebellion protesters were arrested as they blocked off corporations in the UK. The group had increased their actions to week-long nationwide protests.

Read More Show Less
Sari Goodfriend

By Courtney Lindwall

Across the world, tens of thousands of young people are taking to the streets to protest climate inaction. And at the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem last month, more than a dozen of them took to the stage.

Read More Show Less