Coal country is about to be transformed by solar energy in a big way, and 2022 will make this clear to many people for the first time.
To readers here, this may not be much of a surprise, but folks whose livelihoods have depended on coal and other fossil fuels are going to be shocked.
While we at Shasta Power are clearly thrilled by this eventuality for the sake of climate and solar as a technology, it’s important to keep in mind there are real people who will be impacted by this wave of coal plant shutdowns and new energy projects in their backyard.
These types of massive shifts always motivate a powerful response from folks on either side of the change. Many in favor, usually quietly, and a few others opposed, usually loudly.
Some of these loud opposers will resist the change to the bitter end, but many others will eventually recognize the benefits to themselves and their communities. To that end, we hope to educate as much and wherever possible.
Here are two huge ways solar could benefit communities everywhere, and especially in coal country.
Jobs: We can not stress enough, that jobs in the solar industry outpace fossil fuels in myriad ways. The work is decidedly not in coal mines (although it is not absent the mining of other materials, which can still be an issue depending on worker conditions). The jobs in solar pay good middle-class incomes with a median pay of more than $108,000 per year. And per MW of installed solar, there are more jobs than fossil-fuel energy sources. We take the lives of coal and fossil fuel communities seriously, and we know that the new solar energy economy will bring plentiful and rewarding work.
Clean Air: The fact is coal mining and its burring is one of the biggest causes of preventable death in the world, responsible for 1-5 deaths globally. Who wants this in their backyard if there are clean alternatives?
We believe, that once communities realize these two truths, and if they can set aside the politics of the past, which is the biggest ask in some ways, that they will choose the way of solar.
Solar energy is coming, let’s all do our best to communicate the benefits to all the stakeholders.