The Solar Energy Industries Association last week released an independent study projecting the positive economic impact of the Department of Treasury Grant Program (TGP) and the Solar Manufacturing Investment Tax Credit. The study found that extending the TGP by two years and including solar manufacturing in the industries’ existing tax credit would add 200,000 new domestic jobs to the solar energy industry workforce and supporting industries in the United States.
Additionally, it would result in 10 gigawatts (GW) of new solar installations by 2016 – enough to power 2 million homes.
“The clean energy grant program created in last year’s stimulus bill allowed enough renewable energy to come on line to power four cities the size of Seattle and create over 140,000 new jobs,” said Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA). “Extension of the Treasury Grant program is essential to continuing our nascent economic recovery and moving to a cleaner, more distributed 21st century energy system. Tens of thousands of jobs hinge on continuing this successful program, including thousands of new solar jobs in Washington State in the next two years. These are high-paying jobs that our economy needs.”
“Unemployment across the country remains near 10 percent, while the construction industry is suffering at nearly 22 percent unemployment,” said Rhone Resch, President and CEO of SEIA. “But during the last year, the solar industry has been one of the bright spots in our economy with the creation of 17,000 new jobs. These jobs were created by the Recovery Act, and it’s time for Congress to extend the programs that have given new opportunity for Americans in the solar industry.”
“The Treasury Grant Program is essential to keeping project financing—the lifeblood of the solar industry—moving forward. SolarCity has hired more than 300 people in the last 12 months and believe we and others in the industry can continue replacing jobs lost in the recession as long as this critical program is extended,” said John Stanton, Vice President of Government Affairs for SolarCity based in Foster City, California.
The following states would gain the most jobs from these policies:
- California (60,000 new jobs);
- Michigan (24,000 new jobs);
- Ohio, Oregon and Texas gaining over 13,000 new jobs each;
- Arizona, Colorado, and Florida each gaining roughly 10,000 new jobs;
- Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Washington each adding about 5,000 new jobs;
- Nevada, New Jersey, and Tennessee each adding more than 3,000 new jobs;
- Connecticut and Hawaii each adding more than 1,500 new jobs.
Dozens of states would see substantial capacity increases in new solar installations through 2016, including: California adding over 4,400 MW; Arizona gaining over 1,400 MW; Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Nevada, and New Jersey each adding 300 MW; and Hawaii, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, and Texas each adding more than 100 MW. Each 100MW is enough to power 25,000 average American homes. Each 100 MW in solar capacity is enough to power 25,000 American homes.
SEIA’s study complements research released in April by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory that found the TGP “has provided significant economic value” and showed strong employment levels in renewable energy industries during 2009.
“From coast to coast, the solar industry is putting Americans back to work with safe, stable careers that offer hope for their families and for the country. We need to support these workers with stable, common-sense policies like an extension of the Treasury Grant Program that provides opportunity while saving the tax-payer money,” added Resch.
The SEIA study was conducted by independent consulting firm EuPD Research.
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