Iowa solar advocates fear proposals would stunt industry growth

The Gazette wrote a great article about solar jobs in Iowa. They also took a few pictures with the MOXIE Solar Crew! Here’s what they had to say:

Jobs related to solar energy are on the rise in Iowa, bucking a national trend.

But those job gains and the burgeoning solar industry in Iowa could be undone by proposals under consideration in the state and federal governments, solar energy advocates say.

There were more than 800 solar energy jobs in Iowa in 2017, a 45 percent increase over the previous year, according to the latest National Solar Jobs Census, published recently by The Solar Foundation, a national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that advocates for solar energy. The growth of solar jobs in Iowa stands in contrast to the national picture: Solar jobs declined 3.8 percent nationally from 2016 to 2017, according to the report. The biggest drop came in California, which remained the country’s largest solar employer despite a 21 percent drop from 2016 to 2017.

Tyler Olson, president of SiteGen Solar in Cedar Rapids and secretary of the Iowa Solar Energy Trade Association, also sits on the Cedar Rapids City Council said, “I think the outlook is very positive…

Most of Iowa’s neighbors have more solar industry jobs: Minnesota, for example, has more than 4,000 jobs, an increase of nearly 50 percent from 2016 to 2017, according to the report.

And solar energy accounts for less than 1 percent of the state’s electric generation, according to the state’s utilities board.

Olson said he thinks solar energy use will continue to grow as long as policymakers hold the industry harmless, he said.

“If we could get some regulatory stability, I’m very bullish on solar in Iowa,” Olson said. “It’s just going to be whether or not policy makers side with the big utilities, the big monopolies and try to squash Iowans’ choice in how they choose to produce power.”


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