We think renewable energy is pretty great. It’s why we’re in the business of solar energy. Renewable energy is here to stay, and there are plenty of good reasons for that. Not only does it save you a ton of money on your electric bills, it also saves the planet. In addition to all of that, it can also protect your home from blackouts! Want to know what else is great about renewable energy? Whether you’re new to the idea of renewable energy or you know all about it, we have some little-known facts that might surprise you.
Ready to find out?
1. Renewable energy creates significantly more jobs
Did you know that renewable energy creates up to five times more jobs than the fossil fuel industry? That’s right, the renewable energy industry is quickly outpacing the coal industry in terms of employment, according to studies.
In E2’s Clean Jobs America 2021 report, it was determined that as of early 2021, more than 3 million Americans have jobs in clean energy. This outnumbers fossil fuel workers by about 3 to 1. And even when the entire employment industry took a hit in 2020, clean energy jobs showed resiliency by bounding back stronger than overall U.S. employment.
Despite the overall decline, clean energy remains the biggest job creator across America’s energy sector, employing nearly three times as many workers as work in fossil fuel extraction and generation. In 2020, more people were employed in renewables than nurses, teachers, restaurant workers or customer service.
Not only is clean energy growing more every year, but clean energy jobs also offer higher wages. The “median hourly wages for clean energy jobs also are about 25% higher than the national median wage, and also pay better than most fossil fuel extraction jobs”, according to the E2 report.
In fact, according to Bloomberg, median wages in renewable energy are around 8-19% higher than the average wage. The renewable energy sector also pays around $5-10 more for entry level positions, in comparison to other jobs with around the same background requirement.
And if that wasn’t enough good news for the renewable energy sector in U.S. jobs, it also creates more jobs for women than fossil fuels. Irena reports women in renewable energy jobs are around 32% compared to 21% in traditional fuels.
That’s a lot of good news for the future of renewable energy jobs. Want to know if there’s an opportunity for you?
2. Massive corporations (including oil) are going green
More and more, major corporations have been making 100% renewable commitments over the past 10 years. Starting with Facebook in 2011, Apple and Google were soon to follow with commitments to become 100% renewably powered. Since then, renewable commitments among the IT sector have spread rapidly. And as of 2017, Google reached its goal of 100% renewable.
This may seem pretty generous on their part. However, the Greenpeace #ClickClean report explains: “the IT sector was estimated to already consume over 7% of global electricity demand in 2012, with projections this could exceed 12% by 2017, and continue to grow at least 7% annually through 2030, double the average rate of electricity growth globally.” So, it’s pretty important that they’re deciding to step up in the fight for net-zero by 2050.
You know it’s important when even the big oil giants are turning to renewable energy in efforts to reach this goal. As of 2020, the 6 major oil companies have pumped billions into clean energy projects.
3. One wind turbine = power to over 1,100 homes for one year
The great thing about renewable energy is, when properly harnessed, it’s so easily accessible. Case in point: wind. All you need is one wind turbine, and you’ve got enough power for a year.
Here’s the numbers, according to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA): over 1,100 average homes are powered for an entire year by only one on-land wind turbine, an average of about 2.5-3MW capacity. Or around 3,300 average homes each year can be powered by one off-shore wind turbine whose capacity jumps to about 3.6MW.
Wind energy is sustainable, easy to maintain, and creates lots of jobs. One wind turbine can also last around 25 years. This means over 1,100 homes for over 25 years with just one wind turbine! This is great news for those who live near areas that are suitable for wind turbines, that have ample access to wind and land; however, what about homes that don’t?
This brings us to our next renewable energy fact about something that everyone has access to: the sun.
4. One hour of sunlight could power the entire world for a year
You read that correctly. Just 1 hour of sunlight = power for the world for 1 entire year.
The sun is a massive powerhouse of renewable energy, and everyone has access to the sun. Take that, wind turbine! However, we haven’t yet figured out how to properly harness all of that energy If we knew how, we could efficiently power the entire world. (Calling all future solar scientists and innovators!)
Don’t be despaired, what we do have right now are solar farms that are able to power thousands of homes. For example, one of the largest solar farms in America, Solar Star in California, contains 1.7 million solar panels installed over 3.2 acres and is able to produce 579 megawatts of energy. This is enough to power more than 250,000 homes!
Want to know more about solar farms? As of 2020, here are the top ten solar farms in the world:
- Tengger Desert Solar Park, China – 1,547MW
- Sweihan Photovoltaic Independent Power Project, UAE – 1,177MW
- Yanchi Ningxia Solar Park, China – 1,000MW
- Datong Solar Power Top Runner Base, China – 1,070MW
- Kurnool Ultra Mega Solar Park, India – 1,000MW
- Longyangxia Dam Solar Park, China – 850MW
- Enel Villanueva PV Plant, Mexico – 828MW
- Kamuthi Solar Power Station, India – 648MW
- Solar Star Projects, US – 579MW
- Topaz Solar Farm / Desert Sunlight Solar Farm, US – 550MW
5. Renewable energy is taking over the world… by 2040
What is renewable energy doing by 2040? Taking over the world! At least that’s what the data shows. Here are just a few of the reasons why renewable energy is set to be the world’s powerhouse in the future.
Everyone now knows that renewable energy is important and helpful for the planet, and the policies set in place over the last ten years have helped its growth worldwide. Including the global Net Zero by 2050 initiative.
- In 2020, global investment in renewable energy was over $500 billion, which was an increase in 9% over the previous year, even during a global pandemic. (Bloomberg) This has been a trend since 2011 which marked the first year global investments in renewable energy solutions surpassed those in fossil fuels, and the gap continued to grow since then.
- As of 2020, renewable energy sources currently provide around 26% of the world’s electricity. In fact, “renewable energy sources could account for almost 50% of the world’s power generation by 2050”, states a report published in 2019 by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
- According to BusinessWire, “the global renewable energy market had total revenues of $811.7bn in 2019, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.7% between 2015 and 2019.” At this rate, the renewable energy market is expected to be valued at about $1,512.3 billion by 2025.
There are a lot of reasons that renewable energy is growing so quickly lately. For one the global interest in protecting the environment. In addition, renewable energy is becoming more and more competitive with other energy sources. Renewable energy systems like solar panels are becoming cheaper every year. Not only this, but they’re also saving electricity consumers money on their utility bills and protecting them from rising energy costs in the future.
Renewable energy also improves the stability and reliability of the power grid already in use. When demand rises, other types of energy solutions may not be able to keep up like readily available solar and wind power, which can feed back into the grid to power everyone. Solar and wind power are also less likely to fail in severe weather, and now with options like solar battery backups to store excess solar power, it’s also a better solution during times of disasters.
6. Solar power could be the world’s top power source by 2050
Renewable energy is growing rapidly every year, but specifically solar power: solar power is on track to be the world’s top power source by 2050.
Over the last decade, the world’s electricity sourced from solar power increased over 4,300 percent. Yes, you read that correctly.
As of 2021, there is over 102 GB total solar capacity and over 2 million solar energy systems installed across the nation. (SEIA)
According to the IEA tracking report, solar power worldwide is estimated to have increased by 22% in 2019, making total generation 720 TWh. This means the share of global electricity generation from solar power is now almost 3%, and is now the third-largest renewable electricity technology after hydropower and onshore wind.
And from a recent report from Irena, the world added record new renewable energy capacity in 2020: “More than 80 per cent of all new electricity capacity added last year was renewable, with solar and wind accounting for 91 per cent of new renewables.”
7. Renewable energy is helping to change the world by giving more access to electricity to those in need
Not only is renewable energy pretty great for our planet, it also helps people around the world gain access to electricity. This is because renewable energy is easier to install than other sources of energy, like the traditional power grid. Under-populated areas benefit with access to electricity, which is about 13% of the planet, or 940 million people! Renewable energy is also cheaper and cleaner than other energy sources.
Solar energy is particularly beneficial for communities in need as it can be deployed faster and easier than other energy sources. In early 2021 the Department of Energy (DOE) announced efforts including 15.5 million dollars of funding to support solar energy deployment in underserved communities through two of its longstanding programs that have already helped hundreds of cities, counties, states, utilities, and electric system operators tackle barriers to solar deployment. In addition, part of these efforts include helping to build a diverse, skilled workforce in the field of solar energy.
7 little-known renewable energy facts: KNOWN!
So there you have it: renewable energy is more important and more powerful than you thought, and the entire world seems to be catching on.