As reports are released and studies conducted we clearly see that the solar industry is creating jobs not just here in California, but all across the country. The green industry is growing very quickly and California is the focus of it in the US. In fact, California needs to produce 33% of its energy using renewable sources by 2020. Just recently California set an all-time solar record “when it registered 2,071 megawatts (MW) worth of solar electricity system-wide”. The good news, though, is that many of these jobs are right in our own backyard here in Sacramento.
News website Think Progress reports, “[A] Brookings Institution green jobs study [released in 2010]…found that the “clean economy” grew by 8.3 percent during the height of the U.S. economic downturn between 2008 and 2009 — almost double the overall economy during that period.” According to The Solar Foundation as of the end of 2012, there were over 43,700 solar jobs in California and 338,400 green jobs overall. In a stalling economy that is no small feat. But just what are solar jobs and who works in our industry?
Well, most people think of the contractors who install the solar panels on their homes. Yet, our industry is much larger than just that. The solar sphere, if you will, also includes:
- Office managers and assistants at solar contractor companies
- Manufacturers who build the solar and system equipment. These companies are run by the average laborer to the high level marketing executive trying to spread the good word about solar energy
- Researchers and developers who work on improving solar technologies to increase efficiency and decrease costs
- Accountants who manage the books for all these flourishing companies
- Nonprofits helping people make their homes more energy efficient and conduct research about the industry
- Interest groups and grassroots organizers that lobby to preserve the environment, conserve energy, make sure you and your children are protected from harmful manufacturing processes and environmental degradation, and encourage government to be a proactive participant in preserving the planet while also growing the middle class
- And many, many more.
The solar industry is reaching a tipping point where enough people are adopting the technology in such great numbers that the costs are going down and the amount of proof is going up: people want solar.
They want solar:
- For them to save money on utility bills, an average of $143/month, and spend it elsewhere to boost the economy rather than continually pouring dollars into an outdated, dying utility system.
- For job growth, to help grow businesses here in Sacramento and California, which boosts our economy and gets people back to work.
- For the planet, to slow the expansion of fossil fuel use and production so we can still enjoy the beauty our planet has to offer. Imagine if one day the redwoods truly were just a legend we told our kids about?
- But, most of all, people want solar for our kids, so they have a future as bright as the sun.
Solar is no longer the speculative, slowly-approaching “wave of the future”. It’s here today, succeeding, growing and thriving and that’s a fact.