Solar Industry Remains Strong
By Andrea Luecke, The Solar Foundation's Executive Director
Many people have come to doubt Washington’s ability to align and spark clean energy jobs. Numerous environmental regulation promises have not been honored and financial support for clean energy remains uncertain. With all of the attacks the solar industry has faced over the last ten months, it is easy to become discouraged.
There is, however, cause to rally around success. Last week, our good friends at the Solar Energy Industries Association released pivotal study that shows that the US solar industry had a positive trade flow of nearly $2 billion in 2010 and is a net exporter to China. The study also found that $0.75 out of every dollar spent on a solar installation in the US finds its way back into the US economy, through wages and services. Although the solar industry continues to mature and grow, this study signifies that, despite the recent attacks that “solar doesn’t work” or the “US solar industry can’t compete with China,” the US solar industry is stronger than ever and is creating value across the country.
As a community with a vested interest in promoting solar and other clean energies, we cannot let the nay-sayers dominate the airwaves. In the coming months, solar industry stakeholders will be tested and required to show resilience in the face of adversity. Let’s not back away from a single opportunity to help our country evolve and compete in a sustainable way.
At The Solar Foundation we are fighting back through our labor market research. Currently, we are preparing our second National Solar Jobs Census – a third-party validated study that quantifies solar jobs across the value chain. The Census will be released at Solar Power International in Dallas in October and will show just how important the solar industry is to the US economy. Stay tuned.