Sunlight and stagnant wages

There was a time that “Solar energy isn't practical” was a mantra among energy executives, to the point that Ralph Nader said solar would remain impractical until the oil companies got a franchise on the sun. Those days seem to have passed, and as a sun-drenched state with lots of empty land, Nevada is naturally getting a good share of that kind of economic activity.

A report from the National Solar Jobs Census 2014 was conducted by The Solar Foundation and BW Research Partnership tracked jobs growth in the solar sector by surveying 7,600 solar industry companies.

Its report reads in part, “Nevada's solar industry employed 5,900 Nevadans in 2014 and added 3,500 solar jobs over the previous year. Nevada's 146 percent solar industry employment growth allowed it to rise back to seventh in rankings of highest number of solar jobs by state—and number one in solar jobs per capita. Solar employment in Nevada grew more than 53 times faster than the state's average employment growth rate of 2.7 percent in the same period.”

The margin of error for the survey is plus or minus 2.03 percent.

Unfortunately, weekly wages in the state are still stagnating. During the third quarter of 2014—the most recent quarter for which figures are complete—wages grew by just half a percentage point.

Meanwhile, the Nevada Senate approved a bill that would cut construction wages on public works projects. The Assembly gets the next crack at the measure.