SEIA - Study Shows Extending Solar Tax Credits Will Create Jobs, Increase Investment

If Congress Passes Bill, 440,000 permanent jobs will be supported by the U.S. solar energy industry by 2016.

WASHINGTON – A new economic study issued today by Navigant Consulting, Inc., shows that more than 1.2 million employment opportunities, including 440,000 permanent jobs, and $232 billion in investment would be supported in the U.S. by the solar energy sector alone through 2016 if Congress extends the solar investment tax credit (ITC) for 8 years.

“By extending the solar investment tax credits, Congress can provide an immediate boost to the floundering U.S. economy by creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and injecting billions of dollars of new investment capital into the economy, while at the same time driving down energy costs for consumers,” said Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), based in Washington, D.C. “The solar energy industry creates jobs that are the foundation of our economy – jobs for manufacturers, construction workers, engineers, roofers, electricians, and plumbers. These jobs are needed now and Congress is in a position to extend the ITC and ensure that these jobs are created here in the U.S.”

According to the study, by 2016, the solar energy industry would create 440,000 permanent U.S. jobs with much of the direct growth occurring in domestic manufacturing, construction and the trades. This figure reveals the strength of the solar job creation engine when compared to the current 79,000 direct employees of the coal mining industry and the 136,000 direct employees in oil and gas extraction.

"There is the potential to create significant U.S. employment and investment opportunities," said Jay Paidipati, Managing Consultant at Chicago-based Navigant Consulting, Inc. "An 8-year extension of the ITC would allow the market to maintain or possibly exceed its current growth rate."

Because solar energy components are manufactured near its markets, extending the ITC would create manufacturing and installation jobs in all 50 states. The states that would enjoy the largest economic boost are California, Florida, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, and Washington.

Similarly, the economies of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio and the rest of the Great Lakes region would grow significantly from solar energy if Congress passes the ITC extension. This area of the country has suffered greatly from a huge decline in jobs in the automotive and traditional manufacturing industries.

“In the next week Congress will be voting on energy tax legislation and we strongly urge Congress to seize this opportunity to extend the solar investment tax credit for 8 years now before leaving for the campaign trail,” said Resch.

Key Findings
Navigant Consulting issued a Sept. 15, 2008 report analyzing the economic impact of extending solar investment tax credits set to expire December 31. Key findings were:

In the solar industry alone, extending the 30 percent investment tax credit could result in 1.2 million new job-years by 2016.

The solar industry creates high quality domestic jobs. The greatest growth will occur in new manufacturing, construction, and engineering jobs, and in the roofing, electrical, and plumbing trades.

By 2016, the solar energy industry would employ 440,000 permanent domestic workers with the most growth in manufacturing and construction jobs.

Extending the solar investment tax credits would increase domestic investment in the solar industry by $232 billion by 2016.

Solar energy could produce more than 28 gigawatts of power by 2016 (enough to power 7 million homes) if Congress succeeds in passing an 8-year extension of the 30 percent tax credit before it expires.

Solar energy manufacturing and installation jobs are spread across the U.S. The states that would see the greatest economic boom from an extended tax credit are California, Florida, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, and Washington.

Also, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio and the rest of the Great Lakes region would benefit significantly from an expansion of the solar industry, an area hard-hit by layoffs in the automotive and traditional manufacturing industries.

Jobs Created in Key States with an 8-year extension of the Solar Investment Tax Credit1


Total New Jobs in 2016

New Employment between 2009 and 2016 (Job-Years2)




New Mexico









Southwest Total



New York












Great Lakes Total3






New Jersey















All Other States



US Total






Total created by the solar industry by 2016


Total U.S. jobs lost in August 2008


Jobs lost in auto-making in August 2008


Jobs created by eight-year extension of the solar ITC


Jobs lost in Michigan between 2002 and 2007


Jobs lost in Ohio between 2000 and 2007


Total jobs in coal mining


Total jobs in oil and gas extraction


(1) All figures include direct, indirect, and induced jobs, with many jobs in manufacturing and construction.
(2) Job-years is a measure of total employment over a period of time equal to the average number of people employed times the average length of employment.
(3) Includes minimum estimate for Wisconsin.
Source: Navigant Consulting, Inc. 2008


About the Study:
Navigant Consulting conducted an independent study to determine the economic impact of the proposed 8-year extension of the 30 percent solar investment tax credit set to expire on December 31. In the September 15 report, Navigant Consulting estimated the impact extending the tax credits would have on solar industry domestic employment and domestic investment. To arrive at estimates, Navigant Consulting evaluated all three major forms of solar energy technology:

Photovoltaic (PV): Produces electricity from flat panels that can be mounted on roofs or in large, utility-scale arrays.

Concentrating Solar Power (CSP): Uses mirrors or lenses to concentrate sunlight, using the heat of the sun to drive a conventional steam turbine that generates electricity.

Solar Water Heating (SWH): Uses sunlight to heat water for use in homes or businesses.

The study was commissioned by the Solar Energy Research and Education Foundation, a nonprofit 501 (c) 3 educational organization in Washington D.C. affiliated with SEIA that conducts research and analysis on the solar markets. For a full copy of the study click here.

About Navigant Consulting:
Navigant Consulting, Inc.(NYSE: NCI) is an international consulting firm combining deep industry expertise and integrated solutions to assist companies and their legal counsel in enhancing stakeholder value, improving operations, and addressing the challenges of uncertainty, risk and significant business model change. Professional services include dispute, investigative, operational and business advisory, risk management and regulatory advisory, and transaction advisory solutions. The Company focuses on industries undergoing substantial regulatory or structural change, including financial services, insurance, healthcare and energy. Navigant Consulting has offices in over 40 cities in North America, Europe and Asia. More information is available at

About SEREF:
For more than 30 years the Solar Energy Research & Education Foundation (SEREF), a nonprofit 501(c)3 affiliated with SEIA, has been dedicated to advancing the use of solar energy as a clean, sustainable, cost-effective way to meet the world’s energy needs. We work to inform the public about the wide variety of solar technologies and their many applications, and we advocate for the sound public policies that are needed to bring solar energy to millions of people. By providing access to up-to-date information, detailed research, and innovative policy analysis, SEREF empowers the general public, decision makers, elected officials, thought leaders, and others to become involved in the process of shaping our shared energy future.

About SEIA:
Solar Energy Industries Association is the national trade association of solar energy manufacturers, project developers, distributors, contractors, installers, architects, consultants and financiers. Established in 1974, SEIA works to expand the use of solar technologies in the global marketplace, strengthen research and development, remove market barriers, and improve education and outreach for solar. Learn more at