What do an American worker, a Tea Party activist and a Chinese entrepreneur have in common? They’re all are racing to lead the global future of clean energy and their journeys are featured in Catching the Sun, a new documentary that showcases how doing good by the environment has created a boom in the renewable energy job sector.
“I was fascinated by the idea that solar power could democratize and decentralize energy in a way that creates economic opportunity for workers and entrepreneurs,” said Director Shalini Kantayya.
Kantayya’s film jumps between countries around the world that are fast-tracking solar production and follows some of the stories that have unfolded in its wake.
Among these stories are Zhongwei Jiang’s , an entrepreneur in Wuxi, China, who grew up without electricity until he was 7. In 2003 Jiang took out a small interest loan from the Chinese government to start a solar company WesTech, which has grown by 50% every year and has expanded to Germany.
Other stories include those of solar installers in America who’ve found job opportunities in the burgeoning industry and a mayor who has fought tooth and nail against an oil corporation’s interests after a spill devastated her town.
The movie shows how one out of 83 new jobs created in the U.S. in 2014 was in the solar industry as a result from nearly 784,000 homes and businesses in the country embracing solar to save money and elevate property values.