Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Solar Energy Fuels New Jobs in Tennessee

All signs point skyward when it comes to the Tennessee solar industry, which is good news for our new mayor, Knoxville Chamber and governor as they seek to bring jobs to East Tennessee. Data from the recently released Tennessee Solar Value Chain: A Workforce Development Needs Assessment from the Tennessee Solar Institute, reveals a rapidly growing industry and a genuine economic development opportunity.

The report shows Tennessee's solar value chain is growing rapidly and putting Tennesseans to work, while arming our work force with 21st-century skills. The state is in a position to gain a competitive edge and emerge as a national and international leader in the $260 billion global clean energy market. Perhaps the most notable findings of the report were the number of entities in Tennessee's solar value chain: 174 for-profit (100 of which are small business) and 62 nonprofit entities.

The Tennessee Solar Institute was launched in April 2010. As part of the Volunteer State Solar Initiative, a comprehensive solar energy and economic development program, TSI's grant programs have leveraged more than $40 million in private investments, produced over 88,000 job hours with a total cumulative benefit to the state's economy in excess of $63.8 million.

It is promising to see Knoxville's new mayor, Madeline Rogero, talk about growing the clean energy economy; the Knoxville Chamber talk about bringing in high-paying, technology-based jobs; and Gov. Bill Haslam include an energy focus in his Jobs4TN plan. Available data and TSI's programs have shown there are tremendous economic benefits to Tennessee. TSI helps dozens of solar companies gain a competitive edge, expand their work force and market reach, and assisted in the installation of more than 6.5 megawatts of new solar energy.

TSI's mission is to promote job creation and produce a positive economic impact to the state partly through its Solar Innovation Grant Program. This program allowed companies that were involved in (or desired to be involved in) the solar value chain to accelerate the growth of the industry in Tennessee. The end result: jobs moved from Taiwan back to Tennessee, and new manufacturing jobs were created as well as a strong solar export market.

TSI has been offering Solar Photovoltaic training courses across the state to help the state's work force acquire the skills they need to enter the renewable-energy market. Six courses have been taught in conjunction with Pellissippi State Community College and UT's Center for Industrial Services, with another one scheduled for the end of January in Kingsport.

With dozens of success stories from across the state under its belt, TSI added one more before 2011 was over.

The U.S. Department of Energy awarded a $622,960 grant to a team led by the University of Tennessee, the Tennessee Solar Institute and the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy. The project's goal is to reduce nonhardware costs associated with customer acquisition, permitting, inspection, installation and interconnection, which comprise approximately 30 to 40 percent of the total installation cost of a rooftop PV system.

Factor in the already rapidly dropping cost of solar PV modules — 50 percent during 2011 — and it's clear that solar advances business opportunities for Tennesseans.

TSI welcomes the opportunity to engage and educate government leaders, economic development organizations and private industry to realize our state's solar industry potential and continue to put some of our 290,000-plus unemployed Tennesseans to work.

SOURCE: http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2012/jan/21/citizens-voice-solar-energy-fuels-new-jobs-in/

1 comment:

rin said...

With this project, people will not only benefit jobs but as well as contribute in saving the environment. with the use of renewable energy, it will lessen the impact of global warming. thanks for the great post.

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