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More Solar Workers in the U.S. than Coal Miners

The solar industry is still tiny compared to the oil and gas industry. In truth it is still a baby, only just learning to stand on its own two feet, yet thanks to constantly falling prices resulting from technological improvements and economies of scale, the solar industry is growing quickly, far faster than any other energy sector.

For the first time ever, in March new solar capacity in the US represented 100 percent of all new energy installations connected to the grid. The rate of solars growth is growing exponentially, and highlighted by the fact that in all of 2012 the US installed 264 megawatts of solar power capacity, whereas in just the first three months of 2013 537 megawatts of solar capacity have already been installed.

The number of jobs that an industry creates can also provide a handy gauge as to how large a sector is, and how much it is growing. The Solar Foundation collects data from the whole industry, and if we compare that data with figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, then we can create a good perspective of the solar sectors place in the US economy.

Related article: MIT Create Solar Cells that Beat the Shockley-Queisser Efficiency Limit

It turns out that Texas has more solar workers than ranchers, California has more solar workers than actors, and across the entire country, the 199,000 people employed by the solar sector is more than the number of coal miners.

Here is a list from MNN of the top ten states for solar jobs:

California (43,700)
Arizona (9,800)
New Jersey (5,700)
Massachusetts (4,500)
Pennsylvania (4,000)
Colorado (3,600)
New York (3,300)
Texas (3,200)
Michigan (3,000)
Ohio (2,930)

By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com



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