U.S. Senator Claims More U.S. Jobs in Solar Than in Coal — And He’s Right
by Cassady Sharp
U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse from Rhode Island, a politician who often warns about the dangers of climate change, recently claimed that there are more U.S. jobs in the solar industry than in coal mining. And the best part is he's right!
According to a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report from May 2013, coal mining employs 80,030 people. As of November, the solar industry employs 142,698 Americans, according to the National Solar Jobs Census.
The solar industry has seen significant growth recently, growing by 41 percent in 2013. It is now the second-largest source of new U.S. electricity, natural gas being the first. The cost of solar installation also fell by 15 percent compared to 2012 costs.
Companies are also taking advantage of solar potential, particularly the tech sector. Apple, which has committed to a goal of powering the iCloud with 100 percent renewable energy, announced it was building its third solar farm in North Carolina to power its data center there. North Carolina itself is also experiencing growth in solar energy thanks to grassroots initiatives like Solarize, which is installing solar on residential homes in Charlotte.
Currently, a solar system is installed in a U.S. home every four minutes, and that figure is expected to grow.