With President Obama’s final State of the Union Address came numerous references to climate change and renewable energy. This week’s Solar Energy News includes headlines about how solar is now a top job creator, record-breaking figures from 2015, and a solar surge in California markets.
President Obama Praises Solar’s Success, Attacks Climate Change Skeptics
In his eighth and final State of the Union address, President Obama focused on what he believes are the most important issues and opportunities for the United States in 2016. Key among them: building off of the success of the solar industry. Obama noted that solar has helped Americans save tens of millions of dollars on their electric bills and highlighted that the solar industry now employs more U.S. workers than the coal and oil industries. Calling out climate change skeptics, he also argued that the pure economic value solar provides is undeniable, and made the case for a renewable energy revolution regardless of one’s opinions on climate change.
Solar Industry Beating Fossil Fuels in U.S. Job Creation
If you work in the solar industry, it probably came as no surprise to you that President Obama praised solar in his final State of the Union Address, citing it as an area of success during his two terms. Solar has surpassed the 25-gigawatt mark for cumulative installed capacity, and looking forward, three key milestones confirm solar’s soaring momentum:
- The solar industry now employs more people in the U.S. than the coal and oil industries
- The amount of solar jobs in the U.S. has doubled in the past five years
- The U.S. solar workforce grew by 20 percent last year
While there are a number of reasons for strong job growth in solar, one important factor to note is the promotion of diversity within the industry. Solar as an industry employs a higher percentage of Hispanic workers and veterans than the U.S. job market as a whole. This notable achievement in job creation is yet another instance of solar surpassing its fossil fuel competitors in an area of great importance for the country.
PV Energy Now the Renewable Favorite of California Markets
It was an exciting week in the Golden State as a new report from California’s main grid manager showed that solar has overtaken wind and hydro as the #1 renewable energy resource in the state. While the ranking is impressive in its own right, the data only accounts for solar plants that sell energy at the wholesale level, which means that residential installations aren’t included. This accomplishment is even more impressive when you consider that California also has the most installed residential solar of any state in the country!
Solar Industry to Install More than 10 GW of Solar PV in 2016
Among other exciting predictions from Greentech Media’s solar expectations in 2016, the clean tech publication expects more than 10 gigawatts of solar PV to be installed this year. A report by the Solar Foundation supports this claim and adds its own prediction: that solar is expected to provide 3.5 percent of total U.S. electricity by 2020. The report also mentioned that solar accounted for 1.2 percent of all jobs created in the United States in 2015. With such strong momentum gaining on all fronts, experts predict that 2016 will indeed be the #YearofSolar.