Will solar energy create jobs?

Solar and wind jobs outnumber coal and gas jobs in 30 states, including the District of Columbia.


energy is not only a tool to reduce emissions and help curb climate change, it also creates jobs. According to the most recent national census of solar jobs released by The Solar Foundation, the industry creates more jobs than any other sector in the U.S. UU.

Globally, jobs in the energy sector are projected to increase from 18 million today to 26 million by 2050 if the world cuts carbon to reach the 2°C target set by the Paris Agreement, according to a model created by researchers in Canada and Europe. Renewable energy will account for 84% of energy jobs in 2050, mainly in wind and solar manufacturing. The new study was published earlier this summer in One Earth. Recent research from NREL shows that there may be even more solar potential available in plain states, as “farmland can offer the ability for active farmland to simultaneously host solar systems,” Grue says.

However, this number is expected to increase, partly because solar photovoltaics and wind power are now cheaper than fossil fuels per megawatt-hour and because many countries have set aggressive emission reduction targets. The solar energy sector employed about 100,000 people, while the geothermal industry hired 5,200 people to carry out its activities. Coal-fired generation costs more than replacing those plants with a new wind or solar generation within a 35-mile radius. Planning for the inevitable economic transition from coal to cleanup can create new economic opportunities in every corner of the country, and some forward-thinking policymakers are already listening to this lesson.

With a different approach, Ram forecasts that nearly 10 million jobs could be created from battery storage alone by 2050, a sector not considered in the latest analysis. That is roughly twice the number that would be created under the current climate action plans and commitments, which do not meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement, he said. Therefore, the technical potential explains the topography and land use, as well as the technological capacity of turbines and solar panels to capture energy. For example, Montana has the seventh-best wind resource, but has only 86 jobs in wind power generation, giving it the worst proportion of job creation among states by the size of its wind resource.

Worldwide, solar photovoltaic energy continues to provide the largest employment in renewable energy with approximately 3,605,000 jobs. Renewable energy jobs are booming across the United States, creating stable, high-wage jobs for manual workers in some of the country's most fossil-fuel states, just as the coal industry is ready for another recession. With nearly every country in the world looking for long-term sustainable energy solutions, well-designed implementation and enabling policies for renewable energy could create millions of new job opportunities. And in Illinois, legislation has been introduced to convert wasteful coal plants into solar-plus storage facilities.

In an annual report on the use of clean energy, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) said that last year there were 12 million jobs in renewable energy and its supply chains, one third of them in solar energy.