Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump slammed the solar energy industry during the Sept. 26 debate with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who supports solar power (video below).
Clinton expressed her support for clean energy, and mentioned that Trump thought climate change was a hoax pushed by the Chinese.
Trump denied saying that several times, but Market Watch notes that Trump tweeted in 2012: "The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive."
Clinton went on to say that the U.S. should "deploy a half a billion more solar panels," and added, "We can have enough clean energy to power every home," and "build a new modern electric grid" that would create more jobs.
In response, Trump stated: "She talks about solar panels. We invested in a solar company, our country. That was a disaster. They lost plenty of money on that one. Now look, I’m a great believer in all forms of energy, but we’re putting a lot of people out of work."
Think Progress notes that in 2015, the solar energy industry employed more people than the oil and gas extraction or coal mining businesses, says the U.S Bureau of Statistics; those numbers for solar do not include wind or energy efficiency.
Nobel-prize winning economist Paul Krugman noted in The New York Times in June 2014 that jobs in the coal industry, in the so-called "war on coal," have been declining since the late 1970s:
There used to be a lot of coal miners, but not any more — strip mines and machinery in general have allowed us to produce more coal with very few miners.
Basically, it’s a job that was destroyed by technology long ago, with only a relative handful of workers — 0.06 percent of the US work force — still engaged in mining.
So what is this fight about? There’s capital invested in coal and coal-related stuff, hiding behind the pretense of caring about the workers.