While editing an in-depth article on Arizona solar energy this week, this line caught my attention: “With over 375 solar companies serving the value chain in Arizona, there are more than 6,900 people employed in the state’s solar market.”
6,900 jobs in a state like Arizona is a big deal, and the solar industry is just getting started there.
The job potential from solar, wind, and EVs is something we highlight from time to time, but I think the cleantech community is still largely doing a poor job of framing this, and that includes us here at CleanTechnica. With solar (and with wind as well to some extent), the economic power of the energy industry is going to be spread around to a much greater extent than it ever has been. Instead of just a few rich oil states and countries — like Texas, Saudi Arabia, etc. — and oil billionaires, any state or country that takes up a leadership position can become an “energy giant.”
Small-scale solar installers can create an energy democracy rather than an energy oligopoly.
But let’s make one thing clear first: this is practically a guarantee since nuclear is obviously not competitive and coal and gas are increasingly being priced out of the market as well. Solar is beginning to beat these historic energy behemoths on price alone, but there are also several other important factors for a 21st century grid that give solar the better hand.
Solar will democratize energy. The question is simply: Which places will most lead the way and most benefit?
Energy professionals (or any professionals dealing with energy matters) should be well aware of solar’s various benefits, but solar marketing doesn’t need to focus on all of those. Here are some simple examples that entire campaigns could be focused around:
North Carolina can become an energy giant! Support solar to create thousands of local jobs!
Bring 21st century jobs to South Carolina via solar energy!
Solar power is the next economic engine of Philadelphia!
Stop sending millions of dollars to Texas for your energy needs. Drive an electric car powered by the sun!
Michigan jobs can come from solar energy and electric vehicles. Forget Middle East oil!
10,000 solar jobs for Colorado sprout up with Community Solar Gardens!
Use free energy from the sun, create thousands of solar jobs in Nevada!
Stop sending California dollars to Texas and Iraq — run your car on electricity and your home on sunshine!
Keep your money in Australia — drive electric and run your home on sunshine. #PayAnAustralian
#Brexit from Middle East oil addiction — drive a solar-powered electric car!
#Brexit from Texan oil dependency — drive an electric car that runs on sunshine!
Create hundreds of thousands of US solar jobs — make the USA the world’s #1 solar country!
Don’t let China take more of our jobs — win the solar revolution! #Sunshot #NationalRES
Want jobs? Solarize Minnesota!
Feel free to suggest better ones. Feel free to create campaigns built directly around those. But in the face of a monumental US threat to cleantech progress and climate livability, I think the imperative is clear:
We all need to get more involved in our energy future — by starting on 2018 political campaigns now, by bringing more inspiration and change through the private sector, or through nonpartisan civic action and community organizing.
Sell the message of solar jobs and economic competitiveness — because solar can actually deliver. Nuclear, coal, and natural gas can’t.