Solar Energy Research & Education Foundation, Google.org Release
‘Solar Jobs Map’ Projecting Economic Growth Across Nation
Real stories of solar industry workers unveiled to spotlight green-collar job opportunities
Washington—The Solar Energy Research & Education Foundation (SEREF) and Google.org today unveiled an interactive “solar jobs map” that visually tells the story of how effective federal energy policy will drive a rapid increase in the use of solar energy and create thousands of new green-collar jobs. Using the dynamic Google Earth mapping software, the Solar Jobs Map affords users a unique look at the anticipated state-by-state job growth generated by the U.S. solar energy industry over the next eight years. SEREF, a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, is theresearch arm of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the national trade group based in Washington that represents the industry.
Cumulatively, the U.S. solar industry is expected to support more than 440,000 permanent, full-time jobs by 2016. The map provides a detailed look at where these jobs are likely to be created across the country. Many of the jobs are projected to be located in regions that have been especially hard hit by the economic crisis, including states in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions such as Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan. The map also shows how the three most common solar technologies—photovoltaic, concentrating solar power, and solar water heating—stack up in terms of job creation. In addition to job growth numbers, users can download and watch a simulation of solar job growth over an eight-year period and compare the solar energy resources of each state with their job growth potential.
“The solar industry is one of the few bright spots in our battered economy.Solar companies across the country are creating good-paying, stable, green-collar jobs at the time when our country needs it most.This map clearly tells that story,” said Rhone Resch, SEIA President and CEO.
“We’re very pleased to help SEREF use Google Earth to show the tremendous potential for job creation from solar technologies state by state. This research shows that creating a clean energy economy can deliver both economic and environmental benefits,” said David Bercovich, Google.org Program Manager.
The map is based on a research study published September 15, 2008 by Navigant Consulting Inc. that analyzed the economic impacts of extending the solar Investment Tax Credit to 2016.Congressed passed legislation on October 3 to extend the ITC for 8 years. The map and additional information can be accessed at http://seref.us/solarjobsmap.html. (Google Earth software is needed to view and manipulate the map.)
Simultaneous with the release of the Solar Jobs map, SEIA is introducing a new section on its Web site. “Solar Jobs Profile” tells the real stories of individuals who have traded in their blue- or white-collar jobs for green-collar jobs in the solar industry. SEIA will regularly update the section to highlight the many opportunities that are available in the solar industry, coast to coast, for Americans who have skills obtained in more traditional industries. The series can be found at http://seia.org/cs/about_solar_energy/solar_job_profiles.
The initialfour profiles cover workers of diverse backgrounds from Massachusetts, Michigan, Colorado, and Maryland.
- Blake Jones of Namasté (Boulder, CO): A Journey from the Oil and Gas Industry, to Building Renewable Energy Projects in Nepal, to Installing Solar Panels in Colorado.
- Dan Leary of Nexamp (North Andover, MA): A Veteran’s Solar Story.
- Norice Thorlund Rasmussen of United Solar Ovonic (Greenville, MI): Uni-Solar and the Town of Greenville, Michigan.
- Brandon Belford of SunEdison (Beltsville, MD): From the Markets of Wall Street to the Renewable Energy Credit market.
According to Rasmussen, “The community is very excited to have this new business here, and especially a ‘green’ business in Greenville.”
Jones summed up the importance to green-collar jobs when he introduced President Barack Obama at the signing of the stimulus bill on February 17, “With every green job created, our nation takes one step closer to achieving energy independence, strengthening national security, bolstering the economy, protecting the environment, and improving public health.”
Established in 1974, the Solar Energy Industries Association is the national trade association of solar energy industry. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works to make solar a mainstream and significant energy source by expanding markets, removing market barriers, strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy. Learn more at www.seia.org.
Since 1977, SEREF’s mission has been to promote the use of solar energy as a clean, renewable, environmentally sustainable way to help meet the world’s energy needs. Through research, education, and collaboration, we work to rapidly expand the uptake of solar energy technologies and encourage the policy and market innovations needed to develop and grow the renewable energy economy.Learn more at www.seref.us.