Quantcast

The Solar Revolution Is for Everyone

Business

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

A new study shows that half of all Arctic warming and corresponding sea-loss during the late 20th century was caused by ozone-depleting substances. Here, icebergs discharged from Greenland's Jakobshavn Glacier. Kevin Krajick / Earth Institute / EurekAlert!

The world awakened to the hole in the ozone layer in 1985, which scientists attributed it to ozone depleting substances. Two years later, in Montreal, the world agreed to ban the halogen compounds causing the massive hole over Antarctica. Research now shows that those chemicals didn't just cut a hole in the ozone layer, they also warmed up the Arctic.

Read More
Diane Wilson holds up a bag full of nurdles she collected from one of Formosa's outfall areas on Jan. 15. Julie Dermansky / DeSmogBlog

By Julie Dermansky

On the afternoon of Jan. 15, activist Diane Wilson kicked off a San Antonio Estuary Waterkeeper meeting on the side of the road across from a Formosa plastics manufacturing plant in Point Comfort, Texas.

After Wilson and the waterkeeper successfully sued Formosa in 2017, the company agreed to no longer release even one of the tiny plastic pellets known as nurdles into the region's waterways. The group of volunteers had assembled that day to check whether the plant was still discharging these raw materials of plastics manufacturing.

Read More
Sponsored

By Simon Coghlan and Kobi Leins

A remarkable combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and biology has produced the world's first "living robots."

Read More
Malaysian Environment Minister Yeo Bee Yin (front 2nd L) and officials inspect a container containing plastic waste shipment on Jan. 20, 2020 before sending back to the countries of origin. AFP via Getty Images

The Southeast Asian country Malaysia has sent 150 shipping containers packed with plastic waste back to 13 wealthy countries, putting the world on notice that it will not be the world's garbage dump, as CNN reported. The countries receiving their trash back include the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Canada.

Read More
Trump leaves after delivering a speech at the Congress Centre during the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos on Jan. 21, 2020. JIM WATSON / AFP via Getty Images

U.S. President Donald Trump dismissed the concerns of environmental activists as "pessimism" in a speech to political and business leaders at the start of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos on Tuesday.

Read More