According to this article, new jobs in the solar industry are on a serious upswing while jobs in the legacy energy field such as coal are in rapid decline. In fact more than twice as many people today are employed in the United States in the solar business than in coal. One in 50 of all new jobs in the nation were created last year as solar companies installed more than 14,000 megawatts of power. And the trend is definitely up...exponentially, or nearly so.
This news, course, will come as no great surprise to those who been following the modern energy movement over the past few years. During that time, not one new coal plant came online, and quite a number were retired and closed. Environmental activists have been saying for years that converting the country to what were once called alternative energy sources and are now becoming mainstream energy sources, could create millions of new jobs. That, in fact, is one of the best arguments for a "clean energy strategy" when it comes to dealing with the national economy.
And this is just another case of the argument I make frequently that it is becoming less and less relevant what governments want to do, or how slowly they can manage the creation of new, energy-intelligent policy decisions, because private businesses with clear agendas and goals will get there ahead of the governments in any case.
It turns out, in fact, that those of us who have been advocating that position for the last decade or so were wrong. We vastly underestimated the number of jobs that could be created by this new approach to energy. Solar, for example, turns out to be quite a labor-intensive undertaking. Large crews are needed to erect vast fields of solar panels. Installation crews dedicated to setting up new home and business systems also require comparatively larger numbers of workers than we had ever thought.
So long as the economic self interests of the American capitalist system can benefit from solar, and so long as the supply of workers remains viable, solar will be an increasingly significant portion of our national labor economy.
And that can only be good news for those of us out pounding the streets on the front lines of the Stop Global Warming movement.