Solar energy is powering the workforce

According to a new report from the U.S. Department of Energy, solar power employed 43 percent of the Electric Power Generation sector's workforce in 2016, while fossil fuels combined accounted for just 22 percent. 

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Quick Facts

  1. Electric Power Generation and Fuels technologies directly employ more than 1.9 million workers.
  2. The solar workforce increased by 25% in 2016, while wind employment increased by 32%.
  3. Energy Efficiency sectors today employ approximately 6.4 million Americans. These sectors increased in 2016 by just under 5 percent, adding over 300,000 net new jobs, roughly 14% of all those created in the country.
  4. These energy-related sectors are relatively less diverse compared to the overall national workforce. Women are a smaller portion of the workforce in these sectors, ranging from 22 to 34 percent, compared to the overall economy, where women make up 47 percent of the workforce. 
  5. Veterans, however, comprise about one in ten workers, higher than the national average of seven percent. About 22 percent of the workforce is 55 years of age or older; this proportion is significantly higher in Fuels and Motor Vehicles, but lower in Generation; Transmission, Distribution, and Storage; and Energy Efficiency.
  6. Energy Efficiency employers project the highest growth rate over the next 12 months (nine percent), followed by Electric Power Generation (seven percent); Transmission, Distribution, and Storage (six percent), and Motor Vehicles (just over three percent, although manufacturing will remain flat). The Fuels sector reported an expected decline of about three percent over the next 12 months