The U.S Has More Solar Workers Than Coal Miners

By Christopher DeMorro via CleanTechnica

Though solar power is still far from surpassing coal as America’s primary energy source, the number of people employed by the solar industry has surpassed the number of coal miners. The non-profit Solar Foundation estimates that there are about 142,000 people in the U.S. workforce who spend “at least 50% of their time supporting solar-related activities,” according to Business Insider.

So what does this mean for the future of energy in America? Quite simply put, it highlights how solar power is growing at a rapid pace, with record-breaking 43 GWH estimated to be installed around the world this year, and the U.S. is estimated to make up about 6.6 GWH of those new installations. Other nations, including China and India, are investing even more heavily into solar though, and the race is on to make clean energy a cornerstone of every economy.

Meanwhile, the EPA is putting pressure on coal power plants to either clean up their act, or convert to natural gas power. This has sent coal mining employment plummeting in the past few decades, though the industry maintains a ruthless grip on many politicians on both the local and national level. Also, when you factor in every aspect of coal production and transportation, the fossil fuel industry still dwarfs solar power.

The tide is slowly changing in favor of solar power though, and as more Americans become employed by the solar industry, opposition is likely to decrease while interest is only going to increase. It might be a good time to make some choice investments in the solar industry, as it looks set to only continue to grow.

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or esle, he’s running, because he’s one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.

Mirrored from CleanTechnica

Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0


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3 Responses

  1. The unit of capacity to generate a flow of power is GW: gigawatts. The unit of the amount of power delivered or consumed during a given time period is GWH: gigawatt hours.

  2. I believe there is an error in the DeMorro piece. He says “… solar power is growing at a rapid pace, with record-breaking 43 GWH estimated to be installed around the world this year…”. I believe he means “GW” – not “GWH”. An energy source produces energy at a given rate. The rate of energy production is measured in units of power, or Watts, or in giga watts, symbolized by “GW”. (1GW is the same as 1 billion Watts.) The expression GWH stands for giga watt-hour, which is a unit of energy, not power. a giga watt-hour (GWH) is the amount of energy produced when a 1 giga watt source runs for one hour.

  3. Again we see the free-market fallacy that economics is not political. A rich man can indoctrinate and isolate communities to believe that their way of life – laboring for him – is uniquely patriotic and must be protected from new competition, that the competition itself is part of a subversive conspiracy to install an alien lifestyle or even an alien God. (Thus environmentalists are smeared as pagan earth-worshippers, economics be damned.)

    That’s not some recent perversion of conservatism that true libertarians will surely oppose. That’s the way all societies built culture to ensure continuity in behavior – a continuity that makes its members willing to sacrifice for common survival. Economics is then built on that rigged playing field.

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