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“As solar power keeps getting cheaper—and more and more of it is built as a result—the industry is also an increasingly important source of new jobs, adding workers at a rate nearly 17 times faster than the overall economy. Twice as many people now work in solar than in the coal industry, according to a new survey from the nonprofit Solar Foundation.

While 40 coal plants were retired in the U.S. in 2016, and no new coal plants were built, the solar industry broke records for new installations, with 14,000 megawatts of new installed power. Many of the jobs came from constructing massive solar plants like the Springbok Solar Farm, which is being built on a site that sprawls over 12 miles in the Mojave Desert.

“It’s very labor-intensive,” Andrea Luecke, president and executive director of the Solar Foundation, tells Co.Exist. “It takes hundreds of people to work on some of these large-scale systems, and it takes about 18 months for the systems to go from start to finish.” In some cases, a traveling crew moves from site to site. Other companies focus on hiring local workers, and while large solar farms may be located only in the sunniest places, rooftop solar is creating more construction jobs everywhere.”


Data shows that solar employs twice as many people as the coal industry does as of 2016, with coal shutting down 40 plants and not adding any in 2016.


  • Adele Peters


  • Solar Now Provides Twice As Many Jobs As The Coal Industry


  • Fast Company


  • February 14, 2017


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