It’s a major turning point, one that may set the tone for clean energy use for decades to come.
In late March 2023, for the first time ever, USA Clean Energy Association reports that new energy technology investment hit more than $1 trillion over one year. That means the same amount of money is being invested into solar energy, wind energy, and electric vehicles as investments in old-school fossil fuels.
It may not be enough of a change to call using clean energy the new normal, but it means a path is there. That’s especially important since many experts expect the fossil fuel supply — including oil, coal, and natural gas — will be depleted sometime this century.
Much of the sharp rise in investment can be attributed to the popular and widening availability of electric vehicles, but 2022 was a banner year for solar energy as well. About 700 terawatt hours of solar and wind power were generated around the world that year.
Many countries are on board. In India, the use of wind and solar energy increased by 17% between 2021 and 2022. China aims to use 33% more renewable energy by 2025.
Being green is great, but it’s not the only benefit of turning to renewables like solar energy.
Solar Energy and Job Creation
In general, renewable technologies are less expensive than traditional energy sources, but they also create more jobs and are poised to do so in the future.
After President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act, it took just six months to see companies committing to, at the low end, $64 billion in brand-new investments within over 100 clean energy projects.
Those projects are expected to create over 50,000 jobs, according to reports tracking job opportunities tied to clean energy investments. Five months after the bill was signed into law, clean energy projects created 9,500 jobs in 15 states just in the month of February.
From Texas to Tennessee and Virginia, massive solar operations are being built to create clean electricity. In 2021 alone, the solar energy sector included 4.3 million jobs.
It’s just the latest in an upward trend in job creation tied to the solar industry. There was a nearly 25% growth seen in the solar industry between fall 2015 and fall 2016, equating to about 51,000 new jobs.
While the economy was relatively slow, solar energy grew 20% faster annually over three years. Over the past 13 years, employment in the solar energy industry grew 178%.
Many Jobs Under the Sun
Part of the power solar energy has within job creation is the variety of jobs that come from serious investments. Individuals save hundreds in utility bills each month by installing solar panels and some companies even let people sell their panels’ excess energy.
The number of installation technicians has risen significantly, but there are more jobs where that came from. Solar energy requires maintenance and manufacturers. Year after year, the industry is being seen as a steadfast engine for creating new jobs.
Consider this: In 2021, almost every single state saw a staggering increase related to the solar energy industry. In 47 states, interest in the energy source grew for consumers, utility companies, and businesses. California alone already has over 60,000 jobs tied to solar energy.
As the world moves towards a greener future, investing in the solar industry not only creates jobs but also helps to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change. The industry is constantly expanding, rapidly creating new employment opportunities around the world, creating a sustainable future for all.