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Solar Power Economics

Solar power is effecting the economy all across the globe.

Many people are vaguely aware that solar power is on the rise in the United States and all over the globe. Outside the United States, countries like China are increasing their commitment to solar power and other forms of renewable energy; they are attempting to join countries like Germany, Italy and Belgium that already derive a significant proportion of their total energy generated from solar power. Within the United States the story is the same, as the solar industry is growing in nearly every state in the country.

While many are aware of this growth, some assume that it is due only to environmental concerns. Folks might look at political agreements like the Paris Climate Accords and think that countries and states are only trying to stay in lock step with the current political climate as they increase their investments in solar power and other forms of renewable energy. This assumption that the rise in solar power is due to only environmental concerns is a faulty one. A concern for the environment is certainly one of the reasons behind the rise of solar power; however, the primary driving force behind the emergence of solar power is increasingly becoming an economic consideration.

Solar Power Impacts The Economy Locally And Globally

There are both financial and economic reasons behind the move toward solar power. Not only are there both environmental and economic reasons behind the move toward the renewable energy, there are also both environmental and economic benefits that can occur as a result of the shift. While the environmental benefits may be obvious, the local and global economic benefits of solar power deserve more attention. Here is a look at some basic economics involved in the move toward solar power.

Solar Power Jobs

The U.S. Department of Energy has caused quite a stir with their recent announcement that indicates more jobs are being created in the solar power industry than in the oil, gas or coal industries. Just how people are reaching this conclusion requires a close look at the numbers. The Dept. of Energy puts the number of workers in the solar power industry at 374,000, as opposed to 187,000 in the production of electricity via the three previously mentioned fossil fuels. While the total number of workers employed in the fossil fuel industries is obviously higher than that of solar, the report underscores the general notion that the solar industry is becoming a significant aspect of the American economy and the American energy sector in particular.

More Jobs In Clean Energy, Energy Efficiency

Not only does the Department of Energy observe a rise in solar power jobs, they note increases in the energy efficiency sector as well. Because energy efficiency involves using generated energy in better ways, it can be an overlooked aspect of the total American energy sector. The Department of Energy report points out, however, that over 2 million Americans are employed in jobs that in some way involve energy efficiency; these jobs include the manufacturing of both energy efficient building materials and energy efficient appliances. Wind energy jobs are also on the rise, as that form of renewable energy employs over 100,000 people across the United States.

Solar Costs Declining

The stars (including our sun) seem to be aligning for solar power. Not only are jobs on the rise, but also the cost of solar generating equipment is on the decline. As costs decline, more Americans will be able to generate solar power on an individual and community basis—utility companies will profit from investment in the technology as well. As more solar power is generated, the cost of energy itself will decrease. There is truly a bright economic future for solar power.

My name is Brandon Wood and I am a renewable energy enthusiast and write for My Energy Geek.  

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Stories by Matt Boley