Can Solar Energy Create 200,000 U.S. Jobs? (AMSC, CSIQ, STP, TSL, YGE)

200,000 jobs… That is the new ‘independent study’ estimate on how many jobs can be created by the solar industry by the year 2016.  The Solar Energy Industries Association is touting this figure today.  American Superconductor Corporation (NASDAQ: AMSC), Canadian Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: CSIQ), Suntech Power Co. (NYSE: STP), Trina Solar Limited (NYSE: TSL), and Yingli Green Energy Holding Co, LTD (NYSE: YGE) are just some of the public companies that are listed as members of this organization.

The association said in a release today (joined by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and industry leaders) that an independent study “projecting the positive economic impact of the Department of Treasury Grant Program and the Solar Manufacturing Investment Tax Credit.”

Today news is projecting that extension of the Treasury Grant Program by two years and including solar manufacturing in the industry’s existing tax credit would add 200,000 (actually 207K) new domestic jobs to the solar workforce and supporting industries in the U.S.

The other projection is that this would result in 10 gigawatts of new solar installations by the year 2016, which it says will power 2 million homes.

As far as employment, the association’s note today says that the solar industry created some 17,000 new jobs in 2009.  And the by state figure for how many jobs can be created by state is as follows, with a projected MW addition by 2016 in some states:

  • California (60,000 jobs and 4,400 MW);
  • Michigan (24,000 jobs);
  • Ohio (13,000+ jobs);
  • Oregon (13,000+ jobs and 100 MW);
  • Texas (13,000+ jobs);
  • Arizona (10,000 jobs and 1,400 MW);
  • Colorado (10,000 jobs and 300 MW)
  • Florida (10,000 jobs and 300 MW);
  • Massachusetts (5,000 jobs);
  • New Mexico (5,000 jobs);
  • New York (5,000 jobs and 100 MW);
  • North Carolina (5,000 jobs and 100 MW);
  • Pennsylvania(5,000 jobs);
  • Washington (5,000 jobs);
  • Nevada (3,000 jobs and 300 MW);
  • New Jersey (3,000 jobs and 300 MW);
  • Tennessee (3,000 jobs);
  • Connecticut (1,500 jobs and 300 MW);
  • Hawaii (1,500 jobs and 100 MW).

As far as whether or not this can really be the case, there is an adage that immediately comes to mind: seeing is believing.



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