Obama Promotes Solar Power as Way to Compete in Global Economy

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It’s estimated that there are now close to 143,000 solar workers in the United States, a nearly 20% increase over employment totals from 2012. Now, thanks to President Obama, there may be even more.

Further promoting the idea of solar energy, President Obama said in a speech last Friday that the nation must unite in redoubling its efforts to create new jobs and foster economic growth in order to offset a weakening global economy.

“We have had the strongest economy, but we’re impacted by what happens around the world,” President Obama explained during his brief speech at Hill Air Force Base located just Salt Lake City in Utah.

President Obama spoke at Hill Air Force Base just a few hours after the Department of Labor reported that U.S. employers added a mere 126,000 jobs to the job market in March, the lowest monthly gain since December 2013. The unemployment rate remains steady at 5.5%.

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., and chairman of the House of Ways and Means Committee, said the economy is still not yet at its full potential. Ryan said his committee will take strides in order to create “the real reforms we need, like tearing down barriers to American exports and cleaning up our tax code.”

Considering the lack of growth in the world economy, however, President Obama said “we have to redouble our efforts to make sure that we’re competitive, to make sure that we’re taking the steps that are needed for us to be successful.”

As such, the Energy Department is currently accelerating a program which will train 75,000 people — including veterans — for jobs within the solar power industry by 2020. Just last year, the department created a separate program to train 50,000 people by 2020.

In addition, President Obama announced a solar energy training program specifically for military personnel who are preparing to leave the service. Pilot programs have already been extended to ten military bases across the country, including Hill Air Force Base. Solar power generates 20% of the energy used to power Hill Air Force Base, President Obama said.

“We’ve got to lead by example, invest in the future, and train our workers for good, new jobs in the clean-energy economy,” President Obama said. “That’s how we’re going to keep our economy growing.”

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