Solar Industry Workers in U.S. Now Outnumber Oil Workers

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Solar Industry Workers in U.S. Now Outnumber Oil Workers

According to a report by the Solar Foundation that was released today, the solar industry now employs more people at over 200,000 than the oil and gas industry at around 185,000.

 

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Increased interest in solar industry and fall in oil prices are responsible

In the spring of 2014, domestic oil production was near peak levels with oil selling at over $100 a barrel. Now, with oil prices hovering at just over $30 a barrel the booming shale oil extraction industry is seeing massive layoffs. At $30 a barrel it just makes little sense to go through the process of getting oil from shale.

The lion’s share of jobs go to installers of solar panels with engineering and sales jobs taking a back seat in a rather large car. According to the nonprofit Solar Foundation’s report installations of solar panels is on the rise owing to the lower costs to the average household as panels and batteries continue to go down in price.

The amount of jobs being created by the industry is a bit odd as manufacturing of solar equipment has actually declined a little in the months covered in the report. However, the report suggests that that is likely a blip and a result of Qbotix shuttering its factory in September when the Silicon Valley solar company went out of business.

Good for the environment not so much for the economy and household incomes

While it’s quite clear that solar energy is considerably better for the environment than the burning of fossil fuels, the average solar worker makes considerable less than and oil and gas worker. Installers, which again make a massive percentage of solar jobs, on average are paid $21 per hour with solar salespeople making $28.85 and designers being paid just shy of $29.00.

On the other hand, oil and gas workers make an average of $44 per hour though there is a big discrepancy in who earns what.Geoscientists and engineers make somewhere in the neighborhood of $65-75 an hours while refinery professionals make about $29 and those who labor on oil rigs are paid $17 an hour on average. It’s the engineers and scientists with their six-figure salaries that account for the overall average of $44 in the industry clearly.

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While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala. <i>To contact Brendan or give him an exclusive, please contact him at [email protected]</i>
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