Solar energy is booming and expected to grow even more in the coming years. As such there has been a reported 50k employee decline in coal jobs (fossil fuel jobs) over the past few years. In some ways this is bad, and in others it’s good. It’s bad because many coal and fossil fuel workers are out of a job. This hurts coal working families and causes great financial stress in communities across the USA. It’s a temporary thing though and there is light at the end of the tunnel because coal workers can be retrained for solar jobs. The cost to retrain is small compared to the numbers of coal workers there needing work, and the advancement of the solar energy sector growth. Solar is booming and it needs workers. Coal workers switching to solar could see as much as an 11% increase in salary according to a report in the Harvard Business Review.
“Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we looked at all current coal industry positions (from engineers to mining and power plant operators to administrative workers), the skill sets required for each (for example, specific degrees and amount of work experience), and their respective average salaries. For each type of coal position, we determined the closest equivalent solar position and salary. For example, an operations engineer in the coal industry could retrain to be a manufacturing technician in solar and expect about a 10% salary increase. Similarly, explosive workers, ordinance handlers, and blasters in the coal industry could use their sophisticated safety experience and obtain additional training to become commercial solar technicians and earn about 11% more on average.” ~ Harvard Business Review
An 11% pay increase is big, and according to the report there are enough jobs for all worker level from entry level to management. Too much reliance has been made on fossil fuels and we’re a long way from being completely weened off oil and coal. This is a great time to live in, although it’s probably going to hard for coal workers for a while until they’re retrained. Some may not want to get into solar, there are those that do not want to or cannot retrain in solar due to age or other restrictions and they may have to find other employment. The job growth in solar is very healthy and expected to continue to grow.
The U.S. solar industry is creating a lot of jobs, bringing on new workers 12 times faster than the overall economy. As of November 2015, the solar industry employed 208,859 solar workers, which is already larger than the roughly 150,000 jobs remaining in the domestic coal industry. ~ Harvard Business Review
Solar is here to stay and it’s growing at a faster rate than the economy. In fact, over the next decade solar will probably prop up the economy if not save it altogether.
It makes since to retrain energy workers in the coal industry.
The average wage increases overall are just a bonus.