California jobs graphic

The renewable energy industry not only benefits the environment, it can also grow the economy.

Research conducted by scientists at the University of California Berkeley’s Labor Center demonstrates that the impact of renewable energy policy in California is substantial. Since 2002, it’s created thousands of blue-collar construction jobs, many of them in some of the state’s poorest counties.

Sardin: “It’s been four years steady of work out here so it’s helped a lot of families grow.”

That’s Jorge Sardin. He was invited by his union to leave his job at a coal-preparation plant in Wyoming and return home to Southern California to begin a job at a solar farm.

Sardin: “I can surely say that it has helped out not only myself and the people around me. I have seen all the valley grow.”

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Sardin is now a foreman, and over the past few years he has completed his bachelors of engineering degree. It’s a perk that many solar companies offer their employees through “earn-while-you-learn” incentives and on-the-job-training. For example, companies and their employees have invested more than $45 million in apprenticeship training.

It’s a sign that the renewable energy industry, communities, and the economy can prosper together.

Reporting credit: Jenelle Davis/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Image graphic credit: Created by David McCarthy.

Diana Madson

Diana Madson contributed regularly to Yale Climate Connections from 2014 to 2021. She enjoys exploring U.S.-based stories about unexpected and innovative solutions to climate change. In addition to her...