Solar Power Employs More People than Coal: So What?

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse says there are more U.S. jobs in solar industry than coal mining
PolitiFact Rhode Island

U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) has been widely quoted online as claiming that the solar power industry now employs more people than coal. On the surface, that’s a good thing, if for no other reason than legislators like Senator Whitehouse need worry less about upsetting people whose livelihoods depend on rock carbon.

But let’s think this through. Solar accounts for about 0.39% of our total energy usage. Coal counts for around 39%. This means that solar uses 100 times more people to produce the same amount of power as coal.

If we are going to measure the success of alternative energy sources, we would do best to move beyond the politics and into the economics. This statistic makes clear we need to focus far more on increasing the productivity and efficiency of the sector before we worry about increasing the number of people in the sector.


1 thought on “Solar Power Employs More People than Coal: So What?

Leave a Reply to Bill Schereck Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s