Solar Jobs: Clean Energy’s Effect on the Job Market, Economy

July 16th, 2013 |
Most of us are familiar with the benefits solar power has on the environment and our electricity bills, but we don’t often stress the benefits of solar on the economy – and, more specifically, the job market.

But reports like the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ “Employment in Green Goods and Services” have historically demonstrated the importance of green technologies like photovoltaic power when it comes to employment. Unfortunately for the industry, those reports aren’t being produced as regularly because of budget cuts at the BLS.

That said, there’s no denying solar jobs are everywhere. In fact, the REC Solar Careers Section is one of the most popular pages on the site, and that’s probably the case for a lot of green tech companies across the country. According to Ecotech Institute’s Clean Jobs Index, there were more than 700,000 clean energy jobs posted in the U.S. in Q1 of 2013, which, as EarthTechling.com probably put it best, is “news that’s good for our economy as well as our environment.”

Green employment not only has an effect on local economies but has ramifications in Washington as well, where politicians are realizing the benefits of green jobs to their states, districts and cities.

Earlier this month, Congresswoman Lois Capps visited with our friends at Central Coast Distributing and Larrabee Brothers Recycling, where we installed the largest commercial solar system in Santa Maria, Calif., in 2011.

At the event, Capps – who represents California’s Central Coast (24th) District, where REC Solar’s headquarters is located – discussed the benefits of green technologies with the Larrabees and representatives from REC Solar and PG&E. The visit made it clear that Capps remains committed as ever to clean energy, not only for the environmental impact but for the impact on the economy as well.

“Green jobs are reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and contributing to our local economy,” Capps said, prior to last year’s election. “… There is a pressing need for smart investments in energy efficient construction, advanced clean energy manufacturing, and strengthening our nation’s infrastructure.

“Here on the Central Coast, we’ve already seen significant growth in the renewable energy and energy efficiency fields thanks to innovative companies like Transphorm, Clipper Wind and REC Solar, and our premier colleges and universities that are leading the way. However, more must be done. Increasing green job creation will help address job shortages, meet industry demand for a skilled work force, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and boost America’s global competitiveness.”

We here at REC Solar (where we recently completed our 10,000th residential solar installation) couldn’t agree more, and we look forward to helping generate more solar power, and more green jobs, for years to come.

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