Each year, The Solar Foundation releases a solar job study. Each year, the amount of people working in the solar industry keeps getting more and more impressive. The solar energy industry is the fastest growing industry in the United States, through jobs in the trades. Electricians, construction workers, welders and plumbers, all play key roles in this new and thriving industry. If you were to go the Solar Energy Industries Association job board, you would see a list for days of available positions. This is a thriving and stable industry that is changing the way the energy is produced in our country and it is doing great things for our economy.
Recently, Austin Energy signed a 25-year contract to develop a 150 megawatt solar farm at 5 cents a kilowatt hour. Check your energy bill at home and tell me that isn’t a great deal! That price is cheaper nuclear, natural gas and coal, all while producing none of the emissions that fossil fuels do. A recent 20-megawatt solar farm constructed in California created 75-80 peak time construction jobs, one could estimate this project in Texas will create upwards of 500. With the housing industry slow to bounce back in our economic recovery, jobs in the solar industry are needed relief for many.
The way our conventional energy sources like coal, natural gas and nuclear produce energy is a process that hasn’t changed in over 100 years. Burn something to heat water, steam rises that turns a turbine, to create electricity. With droughts becoming a prolonging issue in many parts of the country, solar takes no water to create its energy. The biggest user of water in the United States, is in the production of energy. Yes, you heard me right! 52% of the fresh water consumed is for the production of our energy.
But one of the biggest benefits of solar energy is security. The United States military is the biggest buyer and advocate for solar energy that we have. The less that our country can depend on other countries, the stronger our foreign policies can be and even more money that will be spent domestically then sent over seas.
As you can see, solar provides many benefits to Americans, but lets keep our tradesman working with good paying jobs. Be sure to write, call tweet or Facebook your local, state, and federal representatives, on why you support solar!
Nick Korth is marketing coordinator for Caleffi North America.