After two straight years of double-digit decline, a recent report from the Solar Foundation found a relatively modest gain in solar jobs in Massachusetts. The Solar Foundation’s 2019 National Solar Jobs Census noted that “policy uncertainty is still curtailing nonresidential development in Massachusetts,” which reinforces the need for bold leadership and legislative action this session to spur growth of the Commonwealth’s solar industry to meet a growing demand for greater access to clean, local solar power.
“To reverse this solar stagnation and truly realize the growth potential of our industry, we must move quickly to set Massachusetts on the path to a climate safe economy and ensure everyone, including low-income and other disadvantaged communities, can access clean, solar power,” said Sean Garren, senior director for the Northeast for Vote Solar. “The Governor and his administration should immediately expand the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) program by 3,200 megawatts to keep solar on track to meet our renewable energy targets by 2050. In addition, the Legislature should pass a bill to bring the Bay State in line with scientists’ calls for net-zero carbon pollution by 2050, as was passed recently by the Senate and committed to by Governor Baker. The combination of a bold long-term vision and allowing customers to adopt solar today will enable the industry to hire back the thousands of workers that have lost their jobs in the past few years, which will give the Commonwealth the necessary solar workforce to meet our future climate challenges.”
This policy uncertainty over the last few years has continually hindered the growth of the clean energy and solar industry in the Commonwealth. These self-inflicted roadblocks have led to a 30% decrease in the Commonwealth’s solar workforce, shedding about 4,400 jobs between 2015 and 2018, and according to a recent report from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, solar-related jobs may have even shrunk further — by 7% — in 2019. If Massachusetts were to triple the SMART program, Vote Solar projects that it would create 8,000 to 9,000 new in-state jobs, drive in more than $5 billion in solar project investment into the state’s economy, and put the Commonwealth on track to achieve its carbon reduction target.
News item from Vote Solar