New Study Finds Solar Jobs Grow 225% in Georgia

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2,600 Georgians Working in Solar as Georgia Jumps to 17th Place in National Rankings

ATLANTA, GA – A new report from The Solar Foundation (TSF), a national non-profit research organization, finds more than 2,600 Georgians are now working in the solar power industry and that Georgia had the highest rate of growth – 225 per cent – in the nation between September 2012 and November 2013, jumping from twenty-third to seventeenth place overall in national rankings for solar jobs. These strong results show that Georgia is poised to see even more new solar jobs created as new commercial and residential solar projects are installed throughout the state in the next few years. Georgia has some of the strongest solar power potential in the country, and its location and legacy as an economic leader in the Deep South means Georgia can take a strong regional leadership position in the growing clean energy economy.

“More than 2,600 Georgians are working to power our homes and businesses with affordable clean energy that helps clean our air and protect our communities,” said Seth Gunning, Beyond Coal organizer with the Sierra Club. “The solar industry grew by 225% in just a year in Georgia. To help continue this strong job growth, state leaders should continue building the foundation laid by the PSC and prioritize common-sense solutions that will open the solar market in Georgia. Allowing third-party sales and recognizing the true value solar power brings to our economy are strong first steps.”

In 2012, Georgia Power launched its Advanced Solar Initiative to bring significant new solar projects to the Peach State, planning to power approximately 19,300 homes with clean, local solar power. After dozens of proposals for solar projects were submitted to the company, Georgia Power and the Georgia Public Service Commission found that the costs to build new solar power in Georgia were so low that the project should be expanded substantially. As a result, Georgia will have more than 700 megawatts (MW), or the equivalent of 64,400 homes, of new solar projects by the end of 2016.

In late 2013, the Sierra Club, GreenLaw and their partners defeated a proposal to tax new residential and small-scale commercial solar systems that would have significantly slowed solar development in Georgia.

“Today’s news shows again how taxing solar property owners would have had far-reaching consequences. We should continue to support this important, growing industry in Georgia by opening up free market financing,” added Gunning.

State solar employment figures were generated using thousands of data points from a combination of high-quality sources, including TSF’s highly-acclaimed National Solar Jobs Census 2013, the Solar Energy Industries Association’s National Solar Database, and other sources. While the margin of error for some of the smaller solar jobs states remains wide, these numbers are believed to be the most credible and up-to-date state-level solar jobs numbers in existence. The National Solar Jobs Census 2013 was conducted by TSF and BW Research Partnership with support from The George Washington University’s Solar Institute.  The National Solar Jobs Census 2013 and separate district-level Census reports for California, Arizona and Minnesota, are available at www.tsfcensus.org.

About The Solar Foundation:

The Solar Foundation® (TSF) is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to increase understanding of solar energy through strategic research that educates the public and transforms markets. Since 2010, TSF has published its annual National Solar Jobs Census, which established the first credible solar jobs base line for the U.S. TSF is considered the nation’s authority on the solar labor force and advises many organizations on the topic. TSF is also a leading provider of educational materials on the economic impacts of solar for local governments through its work with the U.S. Department of Energy. In addition, TSF chairs the National Solar Schools Consortium, a group of stakeholders seeking to make solar a larger part of the national K-12 system. More at http://TheSolarFoundation.org

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