With the solar industry on the rise across the country and in Ohio, Cleveland sees a bright future as jobs double. The Solar Foundation, an independent non-profit organization, recently released employment data indicating a number of states have greatly benefited from solar jobs. And Ohio is taking the lead. A recent report states that 5,831 people were employed in the Ohio solar industry in 2016. “Definitely Ohio is the heavyweight among its neighboring states,” said Andrea Luecke, President and Executive Director of The Solar Foundation. The number of solar jobs in Cleveland doubled in 2016 to 1,632 workers representing nearly 30 percent of the state’s total solar workforce.
According to Luecke, solar energy adds tens of billions of dollars to the U.S. economy annually. Experts are encouraging solar states like Ohio to continue investing in the solar industry. In 2016, the U.S. solar industry employed more than 250,000 workers generating a $62.5B economic impact and creating nearly 789,000 jobs nationwide. In other words, every solar job creates two additional indirect jobs that support the industry.
“After years of economic decline from the loss of manufacturing and other industrial facilities, Cleveland has spent much of its resources on economic revitalization diversifying its industry portfolio without relying too heavily on any one sector for job growth,” noted Victor J. Bierman III, Ohio lawyer and business expert. Capitalizing on solar makes economic sense for Cleveland. Sustainability and clean energy is big here, and in Ohio as a whole, and Clevelanders have embraced solar as the next big thing in green energy. In fact, Mike Foley, head of the Department of Sustainability in Cuyahoga County, has even gone so far as predicting “in 10 years a rooftop that doesn’t have solar will look funny and will look out of place, ” in a Midwest Energy News article.
In cooperation with OH SUN, the Cuyahoga County Solar Co-Op is helping to educate local residents throughout the Cleveland Metropolitan area about solar energy and adding solar panels to their rooftops. With the increase of high paying solar jobs ($26/hr. avg.) combined with the recent economic growth, the sun is rising again in Cleveland.
Image Credit: Andrew Fogg