Dan Heyman has a solid piece on Public News Service about the impact of HB2201 on WV’s already dismal job creation record.
An annual census by The Solar Foundation found the number of jobs in the solar industry is up by nearly a quarter over the year before, and up nearly 90 percent since 2010.
Solar Foundation president and executive director Andrea Luecke says most of these jobs pay well, and says much of the new work is in sales and installation. As solar power becomes more competitive, Luecke says more people will want it installed.
“It’s been phenomenal. Homeowners, commercial owners, even utilities,” she says. “And as we have more solar installed on rooftops, on land, in parking lots and on top of landfills, we need people to do those installations.”
But in West Virginia, Luecke says state energy policies have limited the growth of solar employment. A good example is House Bill 2201, now sitting on the desk of Governor Earl Ray Tomblin awaiting his signature or veto. According to solar supporters, the bill could limit the ability of homeowners and businesses who have installed solar power to sell any excess power back to the grid.
Only about 300 West Virginians work in solar-related fields, while the census says there are nearly 175,000 people employed in the industry nationwide.