The Solar Foundation (TSF), an independent nonprofit solar research and education organization, today announced the release of its State Solar Jobs Map (www.solarstates.org), a web-based tool providing the first-ever solar jobs numbers for each of the fifty states. Ohio ranked 10th in the country with 2,930 local solar jobs at 167 companies.
Solar advocates credit Ohio’s strong energy policies, including the 2008 Clean Energy Law, for unleashing solar investment and job growth in the state. The Clean Energy Law requires utility companies to meet 12.5 percent of their energy needs with renewable energy sources, including solar, and, although the law is currently at risk of repeal, it has spurred clean energy projects throughout the state.
“Ohio’s clean energy law is creating jobs in solar and other clean energy industries, and these definitive numbers prove that,” explained Carrie Cullen Hitt, senior vice president of state affairs at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “Not only is solar spurring job creation and small businesses throughout the state, it is diversifying the state’s power supply, improving public health, and lowering utility bills. We are truly at a crossroads here – will the General Assembly secure future investments in solar and the health of the 167 solar companies operating in the state, or will they put their constituents’ jobs at risk?”
Falling costs have also spurred greater demand for solar. In 2012, the average installed price of a photovoltaic solar system in Ohio fell 14 percent. Meanwhile, national solar costs have fallen 31 percent since 2010.
“Our State Solar Jobs Map illustrates that solar is an economic engine in Ohio. Pro-business policies that lower solar costs and increase demand are helping to drive solar job growth in communities throughout the state,” said Andrea Luecke, executive director of TSF.
TSF found that the top ten states for solar jobs in 2012 were: California, Arizona, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Colorado, New York, Texas, Michigan, and Ohio. According to TSF’s National Solar Jobs Census 2012, the U.S. solar industry employed 119,016 workers across all 50 states in 2012, adding nearly 14,000 workers over the previous year. This figure represents a 13.2% employment growth rate for solar, compared to a 2.3% employment growth rate for the general economy during that same period. Thirty-one percent of employers indicated that component price declines were the greatest driver of company growth.
TSF’s interactive map also presents information on the relative size of solar industry subsectors in each state and allows users to explore how their state measures up to others in terms of key solar policies, jobs per capita, and number of homes powered by solar energy. Thousands of data points from a combination of high-quality sources including TSF’s National Solar Jobs Census 2012 and the Solar Energy Industries Association’s National Solar Database were analyzed via a dual methodology to develop the jobs estimates that are the focus of this unprecedented effort.
Ohio is currently ranked 16th among states in terms of total installed solar capacity, according to SEIA/GTM Research’s latest U.S. Solar Market Insight report.
— Solar Builder magazine