Solar growth from the Virginia Clean Economy Act could create 29,500 direct solar jobs in Virginia, and tens of thousands of indirect jobs, according to a new study released recently by a coalition of rooftop and shared solar companies and advocates. The study also estimates that the bill would generate over $4.3 billion in economic investment over the next decade.
The study, completed by the Virginia Commonwealth University Center for Urban and Regional Analysis, estimates the economic impact of the Virginia Clean Economy Act, which would expand distributed solar capacity to 2,500 MW from the 92 MW installed today. The Virginia Clean Economy Act would create a minimum of 2,000 MW of distributed solar by 2030.
Key highlights from the study include:
Expanding Virginia’s distributed solar capacity to 2,500 MW would grow the Commonwealth’s solar industry to nearly 29,500 professionals and could generate over $4.3 billion in direct economic impacts.
This expanded investment in distributed solar would lead to an estimated 17,000 more indirect and induced jobs, resulting in over $7 billion in total economic impact.
This new economic activity would generate over $1 billion in federal, state, and local tax revenues.
“Expanding rooftop and shared solar could have unbelievable economic consequences for Virginia,” said Rachel Smucker, the Virginia Policy and Development Manager for the Maryland Delaware Virginia Solar Energy Industries Association (MDV-SEIA). “This study reveals how the Virginia Clean Economy Act will spur the creation of tens of thousands of jobs and billions in new investment, contributing to the long-term growth of our economy.”
“Virginia has the opportunity to create a new model for equitable and responsible clean energy growth in the Southeast,” said Maggie Clark, senior manager of Southeast state affairs at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “The study shows us that the Virginia Clean Economy Act will improve solar energy access for all Virginians while also creating thousands of jobs and spurring billions in private investment. We hope Commonwealth leaders see this opportunity and lead the way for other states in the region.”
“Rooftop and shared solar are the backbone of the Virginia Clean Economy Act, the key word being “economy,” said Karla Loeb, Chair of the Distributed Generation Policy Committee for the Maryland Delaware Virginia Solar Energy Industries Association and Chief Policy & Development Officer for Sigora Solar. “This study illustrates how the Virginia Clean Economy Act will spur transformational job growth and economic development, insuring that as Virginia transitions to clean energy, away from fossil fuels, we are doing so in the most inclusive and equitable way possible.”
“Virginia is poised to become a leader by establishing a mandatory renewable energy portfolio standard that will create thousands of jobs and help ensure communities across the Commonwealth have access to and benefit from solar energy,” said Andrew Williams, Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs and Market Development at Sol Systems. “Increased solar development is necessary for Virginia to meet its climate goals and a robust renewable energy market will ensure that billions of dollars are invested in the Commonwealth and drive its economy forward.”
“This study reinforces what we have seen across the country, solar projects create more jobs per kilowatt hour than any other form of electricity,” said Thad Culley, Regional Director at Vote Solar. “Removing policy barriers to create new jobs that bolster our local economy and address the climate crisis should be a no-brainer for the General Assembly.”
“Expanding access for solar for all Virginians through shared solar and distributed generation is the best way to put the Commonwealth on track to secure a clean economy for future generations,” said Leslie Elder, Mid-Atlantic Director for CCSA.
“As a Virginia-based company, we’re proud that we’ve created nearly 80 full-time, family-supporting solar jobs right here in the Commonwealth over the past four years,” said Devin Welch, CEO of Sun Tribe Solar. “This study from VCU makes it clear: passing the Virginia Clean Economy Act will expand access to solar for all Virginians while allowing companies like ours to create even more jobs in our community.”