Renewable energy plays an increasing role in America’s future investments and less in fossil fuels. In 2016, the solar energy industry employed more Americans than coal, while wind energy barely topped 100,000 jobs. It is noteworthy these numbers were given from the Department of Energy published under the Obama administration. Under the Trump administration, he intends to employ more workers in the coal industry. Therefore, in the coming years, employment rates between these two energy industries may switch.
More than 373,000 Americans worked part or full time in solar energy. Nearly 70% of those individuals spent time on solar projects in pursuit to advance the industry. Mainly, jobs consist of instilling solar panels, construction, and manufacturing. Specifically, in 2015 solar energy only generated a small portion of energy output, compared to the largest industry, coal.
The coal industry keeps experiencing a decline in jobs since 2012. Competition from cheap natural gas drew down prices. Roughly 160,000 workers were employed nationwide during that year.
The interesting connection in jobs between solar energy and coal is solar provides more Americans with jobs around the country, while coal is an important employer in some states, such as, West Virginia. In contrast, California has the highest rate of solar energy jobs per capita. People in California are incentivized to install solar panels on their house using passive or active solar heating. Recently, to increase attention around solar energy, North Carolina, decreased the cost of renewable energy and passed federal tax incentives. This prompted growth in renewable energy as the North Carolina state Department of Revenue “reported last year’s credit had an economic impact of $1.7 billion.”
Overall, investing in renewable is crucial as time is of the essence. American’s must cherish their land, or America will be history. The solution is placing greater emphasis on renewable energy and divesting from fossil fuels. Renewable energy plays a vital role in increasing employment and investment for America.