Not long ago, The New York Times featured a piece entitled “Today’s Energy Jobs Are In Solar, Not Coal.” Journalist Nadja Popovich availed that “Last year, the solar industry employed many more Americans [373,807] than coal [160,119], while wind power topped 100,000 jobs.” Her research is a derivative of an early 2017 “US Energy and Employment Report.”
However, it’s not necessarily a clear statement to boast that solar companies provide more jobs than coal mining and coal-fueled electric-power plants. Consider the actual yield of energy per employee and industries given taxpayer dollars.
While it employs nearly 400,000 people (2016 showed roughly 20 percent of electric-power payees), the solar industry availed a smallable amount (not even a whole percent) of the US’s electric power in 2016. More, the solar world’s employee count is comparable to the combined number of workers at Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Apple, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Pfizer, Ford Motor Company and Procter & Gamble—again, solar yielded little-to-no electric power.
When looking at the natural-gas world in 2016, an equal number of employees (398,235) pumped out over one-third of the country’s electric power—that’s 37 times more power than the solar industry’s measly 0.90 percent. When it came to coal, it took only 160,000 employees to provide almost one-third (close to the same output as gas) of the North America’s power juice.
When examining the above illustration, notice the juxtaposition shows the obvious variations with electricity per worker in the fields of solar, natural gas and coal. Two-thousand-sixteen availed that the black rock gave the US a 7,745-megawatt-hour average of electricity per employee—double the 3,812-megawatt hour per natural-gas employee and a whopping 79 times the amount of a solar employee (re: sun-power gave the US only 98-megawatt hours per employee). In other words, it would take two natural-gas employees plus 79 solar staffers to equal all the power one, coal miner can produce.
It comes down to this: the US-energy solution doesn’t lie within increasing employee number (re: The Times’s article). Economically speaking, it’s much more cost-effective to have the least amount of employees yielding the maximum output of power!
Many (especially political figures and the media) tend to believe a surplus of solar jobs are healthy for the economy. However, said positions are costly when it comes to production. It has been almost 40 years since Milton Friedman said it’s economically wise to employ a smaller staff providing the largest yield of product. The solar industry’s definitely not doing that—it’s costing all of us a great deal of money.
According to the illustration, coal and natural gas are the cost-effective way to go—solar power’s far too expensive. Their justification for the solar-power option is the government paying and/or reimbursing part of the production cost(s) (i.e., free money) almost 350 times as much subsidy money as fossil fuels for every watt of electricity put out.
If we all lived in fantasy land, Washington DC could absolutely throw billions (your tax dollars) at such a laborious, energy industry that they need 79 times more the work force to generate coal’s output of power—40 times more in terms of natural gas. Enough said.