Thursday, May 27, 2010

Solar energy attracting thousands of jobs to N.C.

Posted By on Thu, May 27, 2010 at 9:36 AM

While in Europe earlier this month, I was surprised and happy to see solar panels everywhere. Fields of solar panels dotted the landscape. They could be found on new homes, old homes, ancient homes and on businesses. And, there were new installations going up everywhere we visited.

I'm glad to see North Carolina will benefit from the same type of progress.

I'll tell you more about the other green-energy and recycling efforts I witnessed across in Germany and Austria in future posts. What I'll say now is this: We are behind, but if we start making big strides now ...

Yet another green jobs report is out: This one projects at least 28,000 new jobs in North Carolina from the solar energy industry if the state set a benchmark of using the sun to meet 14 percent of the state’s electricity consumption by the year 2030.

That works out to be about $1.6 billion in new wages annually by 2030, at an average salary of $45,000. Gross investment in the state by the solar industry could exceed $2.5 billion a year by that year.

So says a recent analysis from the Environment North Carolina Research & Policy Center. You can download the full report titled Working With the Sun: How Solar Power Can Protect North Carolina’s Environment and Create New Jobs by clicking here.

The 28,000 new jobs figure is the low-end estimate, says Elizabeth Ouzts, Environment North Carolina's state director and co-author of the report. More manufacturing could boost that number to 42,000, she says.

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