The strong solar emergence in red states is only one of the surprising and wonderful facts in the recent solar census report from The Solar Foundation. The most promising fact is that 1 in every 78 new jobs around the US were created by the solar industry. By comparison, the Keystone XL pipeline projects 3,900 temporary construction jobs and around 42,000 other temporary supply jobs. Solar on the other hand, creates an array of permanent employment varying from engineers and installers to electricians and sales personnel.
Solar’s growth rate was just 1.1% and although that number may seem small, renewable employment grew 20x faster than the overall economy. At the end of the day, or year, solar added nearly 1.8 million jobs in 2014 alone. Some of the States with the most notoriously non-solar friendly lawmakers like Texas, North Carolina and Nevada make the top five list for the most growth in the nation with California at number one, Minnesota second and Illinois third.
So it seems the job boost that the Keystone XL pipeline will supposedly create is essentially eclipsed by the strides made by solar. Maybe more permanent renewable energy jobs should be our focus, not falling back on oil.