by Max Breitbarth
The Golden State is leading the United States’ push for more solar energy. Sammy Roth’s Desert Sun article summarizes a recent report from the nonprofit Solar Foundation, which notes that solar jobs are on the rise, and they are increasing the fastest in California.
According to the report, California’s solar jobs have increased almost 40 percent since last year. Their current number now exceeds 75,000 workers, more than enough to lead the country. Roth notes that California actually has more solar workers than the next ten states combined.
The report lends economic weight to policies promoting clean power. With a newly extended 30 percent federal tax credit on solar energy from Congress, incentives to adopt clean power are strong and likely to continue for the foreseeable future. Job growth provides political motivation to support solar energy as well, as the Solar Foundation expects solar jobs nationwide to continue to grow by an additional 15 percent this year, exceeding 240,000 jobs.
California’s strong growth should also stick around. Although there are some fears that the Circuit Court stay in place rejecting President Obama’s Clean Power Plan could derail renewable energy gains, state laws have had the greatest influence on California’s solar growth, says Vote Solar’s executive director Adam Browning. The state has a mandate in place that requires utilities to supply at 50 percent of energy from clean energy sources by 2030. Debate continues on the manner of implementation of solar, however. While some recommend the cheaper option of open desert solar plants, critics argue that such plants harm desert ecosystems, and that rooftop solar installation is worth the cost. Regardless of future implementation strategy, expectations are high that California and the nation will continue to move toward cleaner energy, and that solar presents a huge opportunity for employment and economic growth.
Roth, Sammy. “California Leads U.S. with 75,000 Solar Jobs.” The Desert Sun. 10 Feb 2016. Web.