Are Solar Jobs the Jobs of the Future?

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 13th, 2011

Week in Review

Yet another example that solar jobs are not the jobs of the future (see CBI criticises solar subsidy cut posted 11/11/2011 on the BBC).

The UK’s biggest business group has criticised the government’s decision to halve the subsidies for household solar electricity by next month…

The CBI said the decision to halve “feed-in tariffs” earlier than planned would force companies to cancel planned work, destroying projects and jobs…

In a speech to the CBI East Midlands annual dinner he said: “Moving the goal posts doesn’t just destroy projects and jobs, it creates a mood of uncertainty that puts off investors and they wonder what’s coming next.

You know what kind of jobs need subsidies?  Jobs where people make things nobody wants.  Unless the government makes it worth their while.  With a nice bribe.  Which is the only way to get investors interested.  Because investors know these are losing investments.  Unless taxpayer money is factored in somehow.

“And it worries me that in just a year, we have gone from third place to 13th place behind Brazil and India in terms of investment in renewables and this is an industry – the solar industry – which has been hugely successful: 25,000 jobs, 39,000 if you add in the ones in the supply chain, that is being put at risk,” [Labour’s shadow environment secretary Caroline Flint] said.

If you have to subsidize these jobs they’re not good jobs.  Because there are jobs you don’t have to subsidize.  And there are a lot of them.  In the private sector.  And these are good jobs.  Because you don’t have to subsidize them.

Subsidizing jobs has one great drawback.  If the fiscal conditions aren’t conducive to maintain these subsidies these subsidies are often cut.  Case in point see above.

If you have to drag people kicking and screaming (i.e., with subsidies)  into the jobs of the future, then perhaps we should rethink what the jobs of the future should be.


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