The Solar Jobs Map, charting our economic future

“Solar means jobs.”

That was one of the first points Adam Browning made when we talkedin mid-March. It was also one of the last things he said before ourconservation ended. And in between, he paraphrased the concept anotherfour or five times.

As co-founder of the Vote Solar Initiative,a non-profit with a mission to stop global warming by speeding thechange to solar power, Browning knows that one of the best argumentsfor harnessing energy from the sun (stopping climate chaos, aside) isthe industry’s promise to generate jobs. It’s an especially potentargument when the nation’s official unemployment rate stands at 8.6% —the highest since 1983.

Others, from Democratic President Barack Obama to Florida’sRepublican Governor Charlie Crist (a true rising star in the GOP) makethe same point, and just as passionately as Browning.

“There’s gold in green,” Crist said in an interview about solar power.

Now, the Solar Energy Research and Education Foundation (SEREF), anon-profit affiliate of a solar industry trade group, has put togethera slick multimedia map documenting the connections between solar powerand job creation.

solar jobs 2013 The Solar Jobs Map, charting our economic future
solar jobs 2009 The Solar Jobs Map, charting our economic future

The slide above is a grab from a fully animated map found here.

The Solar Jobs Map was a collaborative effort, with SEREF joiningGoogle and Navigant Consulting to produce the tool. You can use the mapon their website, or download the entire dataset as a KML file for usewith Google Earth.

In addition to job projections by state for the next eight years,the map is loaded with information that’s both useful and — I’ll putthis in everyday terms: way, way cool.