For future jobs in energy, look to the sun.
According to the National Solar Jobs Census 2011, job growth in the solar industry has seen a rise of almost 7 percent in the one-year period ending in Aug. 2011. During the next year, that figure is expected to rise by 24 percent, creating 24,000 new jobs.
Solar jobs are on the rise across the country, but no state comes close to the industry leader:California.
In Aug. 2011, it was estimated that more than 25,000 of the 100,000 solar-related jobs in theUSbelonged to residents ofCalifornia. This is more than four times that ofColorado, which was listed at second for solar jobs in theUSat just over 6,000.
As the undisputed leader of solar energy,Californiahas the potential to make it a focal point of their state’s energy policy. On Oct. 13, General Electric announced plans to build a $300 million solar panel factory inAurora,CA, which would be the largest of its kind in theUS.
Californiarepresents the burgeoning industry at its highest level. Jobs in the state and nationwide in solar energy include those in manufacturing, installation, residential, commercial and large-scale power generation. Jobs in installation alone are expected to increase by more than 13,000 by Aug. 2012.
Californiaisn’t alone in its efforts to make solar power a fundamental part of its energy plan. AlthoughTexascurrently only ranks seventh in the nation in solar energy employment at just over 3,000 jobs, theLoneStarStatealso his big plans for the sun.
Due to its massive size, abundant wide-open spaces, hot temperatures with lots of sunshine, and a fast-growing population in need of a reliable energy source,Texashas the potential to surpassCaliforniaand become the leading generator of solar power in the nation. All of this can happen in the next few years.
This week, the Solar Power International Conference was held at theDallasConvention Center, attracting over 1,200 companies from around the world to exhibit and sell solar products and services, including solar panels.
The cost of solar panels has fallen by 30 percent since the start of 2010 due to an increase in both the size of the industry and competition. In addition, the Fort Worth-based company Entech Solar is developing new products, such as solar-powered skylights and panels that require less silicon.
Industry leaders everywhere are looking atTexasdue to its potential to become a leader in solar energy. A 30-megawatt solar farm located east ofAustinis on track to be completed by the end of this year, which will nearly double the state’s current solar energy output of 37 megawatts.
CPS Energy ofSan Antonioalso has plans for solar inTexas. They’ve proposed the building of a new facility inTexasthat would be capable of generating 400 megawatts of solar energy, which would dwarf the state’s current production levels.
The sun is a valuable resource and one that should be used to its fullest potential. Not only is it permanently abundant in some areas, but creating solar jobs in theUScan help bring out a professional sector of the society that it currently lacks. It theoretically could turn the tide of the economic collapse if other economies looked to theUSfor guidance on solar expansion.
Baker, Joseph. “The Solar Foundation Says Solar Jobs are the Bright Spot in a Dim Economy” EnergyBoom http://www.energyboom.com/solar/solar-foundation-says-solar-jobs-are-bright-spot-dim-economy-0 Accessed 10/18/11
Lifsher, Marc. “Californiahas 1 in 4 U.S.solar energy jobs, study says” Los Angeles Times http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-solar-jobs-20111017,0,3230671.story Accessed 10/18/11
Smith, Jack Z. “Texassun may soon heat up solar power” Star-Telegram http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/10/16/3448893/texas-sun-may-soon-heat-up-solar.html Accessed 10/18/11