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New Solar Jobs Could Surpass New Oil Jobs In 2016

The number of oil job postings on the career website Indeed has decreased about 12% each quarter from 2014 to 2016, according to an Indeed blog post. For the same period, solar job postings declined by just about 1.7%, “But that could all change within the next year as employers in solar continue to post jobsIf oil job postings keep dropping at their current rate, solar could become the largest energy employer in several months,” wrote the Indeed poster.

Solar Jobs

An IRENA estimate pegged the number of people working in renewable energy globally — both directly and indirectly — at 7.7 million. One might expect this figure to include large hydropower, but it doesn’t.

A previous CleanTechnica article (from January) stated that there are already more solar power workers than ones working in oil and gas extraction in the US. This was based on the latest Solar Jobs Census from the Solar Foundation. However, there are millions in the US working in supporting roles related to oil and gas, in addition to those working directly in extraction. But the number of solar jobs keeps growing: “Altogether, the US solar industry added jobs roughly 12 times faster than the other parts of the country’s economy added jobs, according to the report. To be more specific, the solar industry added 35,052 new jobs — bringing the total up to 208,859. This compares to the addition of 31,000 jobs in 2014, and 23,600 in 2013.” Note that 35,052 new jobs meant the solar sector contributed 1.2% of new jobs, and 1.2% of jobs is basically 1 out of 83 jobs.

Considering that solar power is better for the environment and human health, because it doesn’t emit air pollution, it is beneficial for society as a whole that there is a shift towards renewables.

For example, there are now more solar power workers in the US than there are coal miners.

At the same time, we also seem to be entering an age of the EV, with more electric vehicles coming out, and some with much longer ranges than we’ve historically seen, like the Chevy Bolt and Tesla cars. So there seems to be some kind of convergence or synergy taking place — especially if you consider the emerging energy storage space, which is also adding jobs and ties these two industries together.

Image Credit: Brookhaven National Laboratory

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