My family is lucky to live in one of the few parts of the country where you can still get milk delivered the old-fashioned way. The milk is outstanding – so fresh and tasty that my kids refuse to drink the supermarket variety.
For the last few years, I’ve woken up each Thursday at 6 a.m. to find our weekly four half-gallons sitting outside our door, thanks to our trusty milkman. But last week, our delivery came with a farewell note. Our milkman is moving on to greener pastures as a solar energy installer.
Our milkman is not the first person in my acquaintance to take a job in the solar industry, and chances are he won’t be the last. While domestic solar manufacturers are hurting amidst the fierce price competition that has broken out in the industry, the myriad other jobs associated with solar energy – particularly in sales and installation – are on the rise. The solar industry was the nation’s fastest-growing industry in 2010 and appears poised for continued growth … so long as the policy support that has helped nurture the industry in places like California remains intact.
There is a chance we might be seeing our old milkman around the house soon. Our family is in the midst of “going solar” ourselves – with installation due in the next couple of months – an experience we will talk more about in future posts. But, for now, we’re getting a first-hand education in how renewable energy is creating “green jobs.” It’s at our expense for the time being, but great for our community and the broader economy in the long run.
Associate Director and Senior Policy Analyst, Frontier Group
Tony Dutzik is associate director and senior policy analyst with Frontier Group. His research and ideas on climate, energy and transportation policy have helped shape public policy debates across the U.S., and have earned coverage in media outlets from the New York Times to National Public Radio. A former journalist, Tony lives and works in Boston.