Solar is the energy employer of the future — or at least that’s how the numbers look today.
A new report on the state of the solar industry out Tuesday from the nonprofit Solar Foundation shows that the number of jobs in the United States in the solar industry outpaced those in the oil and gas industries for the first time ever.
As of November 2015 there were almost 209,000 people who worked in the solar industry, 90 percent of whom only work on solar-related projects, according to the report.
There were only about 185,000 people working in oil and gas in the United States in December 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The oil industry has had a rough 18 months, as the price of oil slid from more than $100 a barrel in the spring of 2014 to just over $30 a barrel in recent weeks. The low price has caused layoffs in what had been a robust and growing shale oil extraction business.
The solar industry, meanwhile, continues to grow as the technology becomes cheaper, making it a better deal for the average household. The Solar Foundation’s report also shows how the price of installed solar panels continue to drop