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Solar Energy Now Employs More Americans Than Oil, Coal and Gas Combined

Solar energy now accounts for 43% of the workers in the U.S. power-generating industry, surpassing the 22% from all workers in the coal, oil, and gas industries combined, according to new figures from the Department of Energy. Slashdot reader Lucas123 writes:

In 2016, the solar workforce in the U.S. increased by 25% to 374,000 employees, compared to 187,117 electrical generation jobs in the coal, gas and oil industries… [N]et power generation from coal sources declined by 53% between 2006 and September 2016; electricity generation from natural gas increased by 33%; and solar grew by over 5,000% — from 508,000 megawatt hours (MWh) to just over 28 million MWh.

Solar industry created jobs at a rate 20 times faster than the national average, according to the Energy Department, while 102,000 more workers also joined the wind turbine industry last year, a 32% increase. In fact, 93% of the new power in America is now coming from solar, natural gas, and wind — but it’s building out new solar-generating capacity that’s causing much of the workforce increases, according to the Energy Department. “The majority of U.S. electrical generation continues to come from fossil fuels,” their report points out, adding that the latest projections show that will still be true in the year 2040.


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