New study: Extending the U.S. Investment Tax Credit would support 440,000 solar jobs

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A study issued yesterday by Navigant Consulting points to tremendous gains for the US economy should Congress extend the Investment Tax Credit for a further eight years to 2016. More than 1.2 million employment opportunities, including 440,000 permanent jobs, and $232 billion in investment would be supported in the U.S. by the solar energy sector alone.

“By extending the solar investment tax credits, Congress can provide an immediate boost to the floundering U.S. economy by creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and injecting billions of dollars of new investment capital into the economy, while at the same time driving down energy costs for consumers,” said Rhone Resch, president of the Washington, DC-based Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “The solar energy industry creates jobs that are the foundation of our economy–jobs for manufacturers, construction workers, engineers, roofers, electricians, and plumbers. These jobs are needed now and Congress is in a position to extend the ITC and ensure that these jobs are created here in the U.S.” 

Because solar energy components are manufactured near their markets, the report notes that extending the ITC would create manufacturing and installation jobs in all 50 states.

The report also says the states that would see the greatest economic boom from an
extended tax credit are California, Florida, Arizona, New Mexico,
Nevada, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, and Washington. Also, the economies of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio and the rest of the Great Lakes region–areas that have suffered from a huge decline in automotive and other traditional manufacturing jobs–would grow significantly from solar energy if Congress passes the ITC extension. 

Some 257,000 new, high-quality solar-related jobs would be created in the Southwest region, more than 40,000 positions in the Great Lakes area, and nearly 54,000 jobs elsewhere in the United States, according to the report.

The report forecasts that solar energy could produce more than 28 GW of power by 2016, if Congress acts and passes the eight-year ITC extension before it expires on Dec. 31.

Congress is expected to vote on energy tax legislation, which includes the solar investment tax credit, within the next week. 

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