R.I. ranks 26th for solar jobs per capita, Mass. ranks sixth

Rhode Island ranks 26th among the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia for number of solar industry jobs per capita, The Solar Foundation reported Tuesday in its National Solar Jobs Census. More

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R.I. ranks 26th for solar jobs per capita, Mass. ranks sixth

PBN FILE PHOTO/BRIAN MCDONALD
ACCORDING TO A REPORT by The Solar Foundation, the solar industry employs 340 Rhode Islanders, up from 130 in 2012. However, Rhode Island's national rank for per-capita solar jobs dropped from 21st to 26th over the year. Above, workers install solar panels at East Providence’s Forbes Street Landfill solar project.
Posted 2/13/14

PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island ranks 26th among the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia for number of solar industry jobs per capita, The Solar Foundation reported Tuesday in its National Solar Jobs Census.

Between 2012 and 2013, 17 solar companies in Rhode Island added 130 jobs for a total of 340 jobs, with installation, and sales and distribution the top solar subsectors by employment. However, Rhode Island’s rank at No. 26 for per-capita jobs dropped five spots compared with 2012, when Rhode Island ranked No. 21.

In terms of maximum solar resource capacity, Rhode Island ranked 45th, with 4.49 kilowatt-hours per square meter per day. About 328 Rhode Island homes are powered by solar energy, putting Rhode Island at No. 38 for that criterion.

“The sky’s the limit on solar,” said Channing Jones, campaign director for Environment Rhode Island, in response to the National Solar Jobs Census. “This report shows that the solar industry is putting people to work in Rhode Island, and that fostering the industry will be key to bringing even more good green jobs to the Ocean State.”

Across the border in Massachusetts, 283 companies have created 6,400 solar jobs. The Bay State ranks at No. 6 in the country for per-capita solar jobs, up from No. 8 in 2012. Installation, manufacturing and project development are the top solar subsectors in Massachusetts by employment.

Massachusetts also ranks sixth for number of homes powered by solar energy (about 51,618 homes), but its maximum solar resource capacity is nearly the same as Rhode Island’s, at 4.49 kilowatt-hours per square meter per day, ranking the state No. 40.

“Right now, only a small fraction our energy comes from solar,” said Jones. “To take it to the next level, we need to rally around a bigger vision on solar while defending and improving the programs that work today.”

The Solar Foundation, an independent nonprofit research and educational organization, concluded in its National Solar Jobs Census that the U.S. solar industry employed 142,698 Americans in 2013. That figure included the addition of 23,682 solar jobs compared with the previous year, representing 19.9 percent growth in employment since September 2012.

Statistics on all 50 states and the District of Columbia can be found on The Solar Foundation’s website at www.SolarStates.org.

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