Vote Solar urges continued Florida support
for solar as Washington withdraws support
The Solar Foundation today released its annual National Solar Jobs Census, showing Florida’s solar industry employs 8,589 workers, climbing four percent more than 2016. Solar advocates and industry called on state lawmakers to continue support for policies that create local jobs and grow Florida’s clean energy economy.
“Florida solar jobs continue to outpace the economy thanks to a number of factors, including improved solar policy through property tax relief, strong net metering for investor-owned utilities and leveraged buying power through the recent surge of solar cooperatives,” said Patrick Altier, President of Florida Solar Energy Industries Association. “Most importantly, the uptick in consumer awareness on the benefits of solar, both financially and environmentally, have driven the sunshine state’s clean energy economy.”
“The solar industry is a bright spot in Florida’s economy, creating thousands of local jobs across the state,” said Scott Thomasson, Southeast Director at Vote Solar. “Time and again, policymakers, on both sides of the aisle, deliver when Florida voters overwhelmingly support solar progress. State legislators showed that again this week, voting to move forward Senator René Garcia’s bill to invest in solar and battery storage solutions that keep communities up and running during national disasters.”
When Hurricane Irma shut the power grid down for days, many Florida families were able to keep their lights on and their refrigerators cold using solar panels paired with new battery technology. This year, Florida House Bill 1133 and Senate Bill 1888 would establish a pioneering new pilot program that will expand the use of solar and battery storage and build a more resilient energy grid.
Florida’s solar job growth is in contrast with national trends, which decreased year over year largely due to policy uncertainty at the federal level. The national Solar Energy Industries Association estimates that President Trump’s solar tariffs will cost the economy another 23,000 jobs in the coming years.