The U.S. energy landscape is evolving – the increase of technological innovation, decreasing costs of renewable sources, a focus on efficiency, and a drive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is forcing America to rethink fossil fuels. As solar energy emerges as a mainstream source of power, businesses are preparing to hire, train, and recruit new talent and to provide secure job opportunities for hardworking Americans. Those looking for a career move should consider the success of the solar industry and examine whether the industry could be right for them.
Climate change is an indisputable result of anthropogenic (human-generated) greenhouse gas emissions. The majority of these emissions are created by electric power and transportation, each representing about 28% of total U.S. emissions. Solar power, along with wind and energy efficiency has the potential to significantly lower emissions generated by the electric power sector. Solar power is energy generated naturally from the sun, which is converted into thermal or electrical energy. Not only is solar energy among the cleanest sources of energy available, it is abundant and renewable. As solar power continues to become more cost-efficient, it has the power to make up a larger share of the country’s energy needs. Therefore, it is reasonable to expect continued increases in jobs available in this market.
Sources of Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the U.S., by sector
The potential impact of transitioning to solar energy is massive. According to Project Drawdown, the four main solar technologies – solar farms, rooftop solar, concentrated solar, and solar water – have the potential to reduce global emissions by 78.48 gigatons of CO2 by the year 2050. A transition could result in a net cost savings of $9.67 trillion.
U.S. Solar Market
Although solar energy only generates about 2.4% of overall U.S. electricity, as of 2018, the industry employs twice as many workers as the coal industry. The vast majority of solar industry employment is comprised of the installation sector, which represents 64% of all solar employment for a total of 155,157 jobs. Florida, Texas, and New York led the growth of the solar job market in 2018 and 29 states experienced solar job growth. Between 2013 and 2018, solar employment increased 70%, adding 100,000 new jobs.