Virginia sees 65 percent increase in solar jobs


RICHMOND, Va. (WSET) - Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that the solar job market is growing in Virginia.

According to the Solar Foundation's National Solar Job Census in 2016, Virginia is second in the southeast for solar job growth and tied with Utah for ninth in the country.

Virginia is ranked 20th in the country for total number of solar jobs, with 3,236 - a 65 percent increase from 2015, according to the census.

“Today’s announcement is a testament to the great work we’re doing to build the new Virginia economy, one that is less reliant on federal spending and focuses on growth in innovative sectors like the solar industry,” said Governor McAuliffe. “It is clear that Virginia is moving in the right direction, but there is still work to do. I will continue to work with our public and private sector stakeholders to implement policies that will continue to bolster not only our solar industry, but the entire clean energy sector in the Commonwealth.”

According to the census, Fairfax County has the most solar jobs in the state, with 460 jobs in 2016, a 47 percent increase from 2015.

“By leveraging key public-private partnerships to grow our energy economy, Virginia now ranks in the top twenty in the nation for solar jobs,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore. “Companies are increasingly demanding more renewable energy options when deciding where to make investments. Given this growing component of economic development, it is essential that consumers and businesses have access to affordable, reliable and diverse energy resources. This is part of the Governor’s all-of-the-above energy approach and key to fulfilling the energy policy of the Commonwealth.”

Officials say the growth can be seen in numerous areas of the supply chain, including nearly 1,750 installation jobs, over 575 project development jobs, and more than 300 manufacturing jobs.

“The solar industry is generating well-paying jobs everywhere from Detroit to Miami to Salt Lake City, and in states from Ohio to Texas to South Carolina to Virginia,” said Andrea Luecke, President and Executive Director of The Solar Foundation. “America’s solar energy boom adds tens of billions of dollars to our economy each year, all while providing an affordable, reliable, and local energy source.”

The census showed 38 percent of Virginia's solar workforce are women, and 22 percent are Hispanic or Latino.

To view the Governor’s “Energy in the New Virginia Economy” Energy Plan Update released in October of 2016, please click here.

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