Despite a boom in oil and natural gas drilling in the United States, the solar power industry added more new jobs to the U.S. economy in the past year than major segments of incumbent fossil fuel and utility industries combined.
The nonprofit Solar Foundation released its annual Solar Jobs Census 2015, and found that over the last year, the solar industry added jobs 12 times faster than the rest of the U.S. economy, even more than the jobs created by the oil and gas extraction and pipeline sectors combined.
The Solar Foundation shows that there were 208,859 PV workers employed in the respective industry as of November 2015. For comparison, there were only about 185,000 people working in oil and gas extraction in the United States in December 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The one place where solar hasn’t caught up to oil and gas extraction, it seems, is in the pay. According to the Foundation, installers – which account for a plurality of jobs in the industry – get $21 per hour on average. The pay in sales and design is higher, at $28.85 and $26.92, respectively. But oil and gas workers on average get $44 an hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Written by Ania Ivchik – Energy and Nuclear Engineer