The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has released a new report revealing a quick expansion of solar jobs both in the US and internationally.
The report details an employment increase in the solar industry by 24.5 percent from 2015 to current, documenting an astounding growth rate 17 times faster than the general US economy. This debunks recent claims by Trump that the solar and renewables industry is a threat to America.
Over 241,000 jobs were in the area of solar photovoltaiscs. A further 13,000 were in solar heating and cooling areas, and the remaining employment was in concentrated solar power. (CSP)
Over 50 percent of the jobs within the United States specifically were in installation, notes the report. A further 12 percent were in distribution and sales, 13 percent in project development and 15 percent in manufacturing. There was also a noted 6 percent in other areas which included research and development.
In 2013, the solar labour force sat at around 19 percent in the United States. In 2016 it had moved to 28 percent, which also takes into consideration the more diverse jobs now available as the industry grows. The increase in solar jobs in sales and distribution has risen a massive 33.8 percent since 2013.
It is difficult to dispute the figures. More jobs are now available in the solar energy industry compared to fossil fuels and conventional industries. It is important to note that woman still remain underrepresented in the employment sector in solar jobs in the United States.
The report notes a decline in the more traditional jobs, particularly in the ethanol related areas despite rising productivity in labour. Overall, in the United States economy in 2016, only 7,000 biogas jobs were reported.
The report essentially documents the trend towards fossil fuels jobs slowly disappearing as they become the more expensive options for both production and the consumer.
Renewable energy is literally paving the way for more sustainable jobs in the future both in the United States and internationally. As the technology is further developed and required more by developing nations, the production of solar/renewable options will become cheaper.
More jobs will become available for the blue-collar worker, and the compensation will likely increase compared to those remaining in the fossil fuels industry. The IRENA report projects a massive increase in employment opportunities with a further predicted 147,000 jobs appearing in the wind industry alone by 2020. Currently, the wind industry employs around 102,000 jobs and is set to double in the next three years.
Observers in the scientific and corporate communities alike say Trump’s actions to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement will not only hurt domestic policy, causing further unemployment, but will risk isolating America from the latest booming industry. Nations worldwide, including China and India, are turning more towards solar for its cheap production costs and sustainability, as well as the healthier implications: less air pollution, less medical expenses and a happier citizen.