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Iowa’s solar potential can spur the economy and create jobs

energyvoter-image_solar_v1The past several years have been characterized by a surge of innovation and growth in the solar industry. Global PV installed capacity has increased by a factor of nearly seventy over the last decade, from 2.6 GW in 2004 to 177 GW in 2014. In the US, solar PV cells are a primary source of new electricity generating capacity. In the first half of 2015, solar represented 40% of new electric-generating capacity.

State policies that help build a market and develop the solar supply chain, promotes access to capital and invests in the solar workforce development will attract solar companies. With the right combination of policies, solar resources, available land and access to capital, Iowa can compete nationally and globally for market-driven solar manufacturing, generation, installation and exports.

Solar in Iowa is poised for growth. Several positive developments occurred in 2014, including the approval of third-party power purchase agreements (PPAs), investigations by the Iowa Utilities Board in the potential future implementation of distributed generation, and the renewable and expansion of the state solar systems tax credit. These events are expected to increase the demand for solar energy conversion systems in the residential and commercial markets.

The Solar Energy Industry Association’s “Featured States” in the solar value chain include many of  Iowa’s neighbors, including Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Missouri. As vibrant technology hubs spread across the Midwest, in what many refer to as the Silicon Prairie, Iowa has the potential to close gaps in its solar supply chain and take advantage of in-state solar resources. As demand for solar increases, Iowa has the opportunity to expand the solar economy, increase in-state spending, and employ an average of over 7,700 Iowans annually over the next 15 years.

As of December 2014, approximately 23,000 people were employed in the advanced energy industry in Iowa and increased investment could create over 10% more jobs by 2020. Additional, Iowa ranks 16th in the nation for solar technical potential. With a strong foundation and growing in-state demand, Iowa leaders are well-positioned to facilitate significant growth in the solar sector in coming years.

Be an #EnergyVoter this election and vote for elected officials that will support continuing Iowa’s growth in the clean energy sector.  Learn more about the candidates here

Read the whole Iowa Jobs Project Report here.

Be an #EnergyVoter
Share your enthusiasm as a #EnergyVoter. Tell your friends and family why renewable energy policy is important to you. Share your thoughts, photos, or videos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with #EnergyVoter.

Post your reasons why you are a #EnergyVoter to the Iowa Renewable Energy Association’s Facebook page, and one randomly selected participant with receive Changers.com solar charger.