Surge in Pollution-Free Energy Fuels 42% Increase in Solar Sector
Massachusetts ranks 4th in nation with 6,400 jobs in the solar industry according to a national Solar Jobs Census released today by The Solar Foundation (TSF). The number of people employed manufacturing and installing solar energy grew by 1,900 in 2013 – a 42% increase. This job growth coincided with a doubling of the Commonwealth’s solar capacity in 2013 to 425 megawatts (MW).
“The sun is an unlimited energy source that could provide all of our energy without the air, water and climate-altering pollution associated with fossil fuels,” said Ben Hellerstein, Field Associate with Environment Massachusetts. “This report shows that the solar industry is putting people to work to meet a growing percentage of our energy needs with pollution-free energy that has no fuel costs.”
Environment Massachusetts released a report last year; which emphasized that it is not the availability of sunlight makes states solar leaders, but the degree to which state and local governments have adopted effective programs. A strong commitment from state and local leaders has fueled tremendous progress that has propelled Massachusetts to the list of top solar stats.
“Massachusetts’ tremendous success is the result of a dynamic partnership between local and state government and citizens and businesses that recognize the environmental and economic benefits of solar,” said Hellerstein. “By working together we can be on track to make solar and clean local energy a centerpiece of the Commonwealth’s energy plan.”
Officials are currently considering improvements to important solar programs; including a quadrupling of the state’s solar standard (SRECII) to 1600MW and improvements to the net-metering program that enables local governments and residential and business customers to be compensated for solar energy they provide to the grid.
“We’ve made tremendous progress on solar in Massachusetts. But, we’ve barely scratched the surfaced of its potential to meet our energy needs,” said Hellerstein. “To truly capture the environmental and economic benefits solar energy, we must take it to the next level and rally around a bigger vision on solar while defending and improving the programs that work today.”