Nevada was only one of six states in the country to lose jobs in the solar industry last year, as the industry grew nationally by 25 percent, according to the seventh annual National Solar Jobs Census from The Solar Foundation.
Although Nevada added jobs in the large-scale solar sector, changes in rules for residential rooftop solar customers decimated that industry, costing the state more than 2,500 rooftop solar installation jobs.
But the Nevada Legislature will consider legislation this spring that could return the rooftop solar industry to Nevada and further grow the state’s clean energy industry. The report makes it clear state policymakers have an opportunity to return Nevada to a national leadership position in the rooftop solar sector.
Nevada ranks fourth in the nation for the number of jobs in the solar industry, and second in the nation on a per capita basis, according to the report. However, the total number of solar workers in Nevada decreased by 4 percent over one year, from 8,764 jobs in 2015 to 8,371 jobs in 2016.
Members and allies of the RenewNV partnership of organizations working to build Nevada’s clean energy economy commented on the solar jobs report:
Andy Maggi, Executive Director, Nevada Conservation League:
More proof that the Public Utility Commission’s decision to gut rooftop solar put the breaks on what is a growing industry across the country here in Nevada. The legislature has 119 days to take action and make Nevada a leader in clean energy diversifying our economy and bringing jobs back here to the state. Nevadans overwhelmingly support policies that drive this kind of action, making it a win for legislators, the economy, and the public. Legislators need to make clean energy first again.
Sondra Cosgrove, President, League of Women Voters of Las Vegas Valley:
As our legislature convenes we are reminded that economic and workforce development in solar energy needs prompt attention. Our economy is growing with new construction and increased tourism throughout the state, but we could easily miss an opportunity to boost investment in clean energy initiatives and good-paying, sustainable jobs if our elected leaders fail to act quickly.
Pastor Ralph Williamson, First AME Church; President, Faith Organizing Alliance:
Nevada is a state with so much sunshine, it’s unfortunate we are losing the opportunity to explore all the various dimensions of solar energy, said Pastor Ralph Williamson First AME church, and President of the Faith Organizing Alliance.
Jennifer Taylor, Executive Director, Clean Energy Project:
The slight slowing of Nevada solar job growth this past year is unfortunate as Nevada had led the country in such growth in recent years. However, we know that solar jobs employ thousands of Nevadans in good paying jobs. Now, Nevada’s State leaders have an opportunity to prioritize clean energy and solar job growth, investment and usage this legislative session as we work to solidify the Silver State’s leadership in renewable energy, and implement new, forward-thinking clean energy economic policies and workforce development as a key component of Governor Sandoval’s New Nevada.
Dylan Sullivan, Senior Scientist, Natural Resources Defense Council:
The report showed job creation from large-scale solar installations offsetting some of the job losses from rooftop solar. But the jobs picture would have been far better had the state continued with net metering. Nevada’s policymakers have the opportunity to supercharge solar job creation, by updating Nevada’s renewable portfolio standard and restoring the ability of customers to “go solar.”
Rudy Zamora, Director, Chispa Nevada:
Nevada’s Latino families are disproportionately affected by air pollution. Solar energy not only provides economic opportunity to our community, it’s also a pathway to cleaner air and better health. We ask the Legislature to take action to harness our state’s renewable energy potential. After taking a step back, it’s time for two steps forward.
RenewNV is a partnership of organizations working to build and enhance Nevada’s clean energy economy. Renewable energy means reliable power, clean air, and good jobs for Nevada, and smart energy policies can make the Silver State an economic powerhouse. RenewNV supports policies that will expand our use and export of renewable energy, increase opportunities for energy efficiency and ensure that all Nevadans have access to the new energy economy.