Solar Energy Employs More People In U.S Than Oil, Coal And Gas Combined

According to a new study, solar energy employed more people than traditional coal, gas, and oil combined in the US last year.

Solar energy accounted for the largest proportion of employers in the Electric Power Generation sector, with wind energy the third largest, the report from the US Department of Energy (DOE) says

The report from the US Department of Energy (DOE) says solar energy employed 374,000 people in the year 2015-2016, making up 43 percent of the Electric Power Generation sector's workforce, while fossil fuels employed 187,117 jobs making up 22 percent of the sector's workforce.

“Proportionally, solar employment accounts for the largest share of workers in the Electric Power Generation sector. This is largely due to the construction related to the significant build out of new solar generation capacity,” the report states.

US solar industry employment grew 25 percent last year, adding 73,000 new jobs to the economy. Wind energy contributed even more new jobs, with 32 per cent growth.

“The electric generation mix in the United States is changing, driven by the transition of coal-fired power plants to natural gas and the increase in low carbon sources of energy,” states the report.

“These shifts in electric generation source are mirrored in the sector’s changing employment profile, as the share of natural gas, solar, and wind workers increases, while coal mining and other related employment is declining.”

David Foster, DOE Senior Advisor on Industrial and Economic Policy, said: “This report verifies the dynamic role that our energy technologies and infrastructure play in a 21st-century economy.

“Whether producing natural gas or solar power at increasingly lower prices or reducing our consumption of energy through smart grids and fuel efficient vehicles, energy innovation is proving itself as the important driver of economic growth in America, producing 14 percent of the new jobs in 2016.”

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