To understand the quality of employment opportunities in clean energy-related industries, E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs), the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) and the Clean Energy Leadership Institute (CELI) have commissioned BW Research to analyze wages and benefits of occupations in clean energy industries in comparison to all occupations nationwide, sectors heavily impacted by the pandemic crisis and other energy-related occupations.
BW Research’s report analyzed clean energy wages, benefits and unionization rates across all five clean energy sectors (renewable energy generation, energy efficiency, clean fuels, clean vehicle, and grid modernization and storage) with detailed demographic data for 15 specific clean energy occupations, and how they compare with similar jobs in other industries. Also detailed in the report are state-specific wage findings for all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
The Clean Jobs, Better Jobs report offers a comprehensive analysis of wages and benefits across the clean energy sector. According to the report, workers in renewable energy, energy efficiency, grid modernization and storage, clean fuels and clean vehicles earned a median hourly wage of $23.89 in 2019 compared with the national median wage of $19.14. In addition, jobs in many clean energy sectors are more likely to be unionized and come with health care and retirement benefits than the rest of the private sector, the analysis shows.
Clean Jobs, Better Jobs comes amid the growing national dialogue around clean energy as federal and state leaders look for ways to restart the economy. The findings underscore the opportunity to advance smart clean energy policies that create higher-wage opportunities putting Americans back to work quickly rebuilding a cleaner, more resilient and more equitable economy. The report also provides detailed wage, benefit, education and demographic data for 15 specific clean energy occupations, and how they compare with similar jobs in other industries outside of clean energy.
Overall, median wages in clean energy are significantly higher than median wages in sectors such as retail, services, recreation and accommodations, especially when it comes to entry-level wages. Solar energy workers earn $24.48 an hour, while wind and grid modernization jobs pay on average more than $25 an hour. Energy efficiency – the largest employer in the nation’s energy sector – supports a median hourly wage of $24.44, about 28% above the national median.
Many clean energy jobs also paid better than fossil fuel jobs. Jobs in coal, natural gas and petroleum fuels paid $24.37 an hour, while solar and wind jobs combined for a $24.85 median hourly wage. Clean energy industries also employed about three times more workers than fossil fuels did in 2019, and, unlike fossil fuel jobs, clean energy jobs are available in every state, regardless of geology or geography.
Before COVID-19, clean energy had been one of the nation’s fastest-growing sectors. At the end of 2019, clean energy employed nearly 3.4 million workers across 99% of U.S. counties, according to E2’s Clean Jobs America report.
To access the full Clean Jobs, Better Jobs report, click here.