CHICAGO – The clean energy sector has been hard hit during the COVID-19 crisis, the Union of Concerned Scientists is reporting.
With the US and global economy in free-fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the renewable energy industry is hemorrhaging projects and jobs at a faster rate than the overall economy. As of the end of April, more than half a million US clean energy workers are now out of work, and the number is still climbing. What is increasingly clear is that if we don’t take immediate action to stem the bleeding, the US will lose a big chunk of what was one of the fastest growing sectors of our economy and, in the long term, could result in a serious setback in efforts to address climate change.
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is projecting the US solar industry will lose nearly 114,000 jobs through June, representing 38 percent fewer jobs than the pre-COVID-19 forecast, according to new analysis released today. Instead of growing from a base of 250,000 jobs at the end of 2019 to 302,000 jobs (as projected), SEIA is now projecting total US solar jobs to fall to 188,000 by the end of June. This would negate five years of solar industry job growth.
Illinois is the most negatively affected state in the Midwest:
A whopping two-thirds of the total solar job losses across the country – a total of 76,439 jobs – are projected to occur in nine states. States experiencing the greatest number of solar job losses include:
- California (35,687),
- New York (9,053),
- New Jersey (5,726),
- Texas (5,106),
- Florida (5,617),
- Massachusetts (4,284),
- Arizona (4,002),
- Illinois (3,742) and
- Pennsylvania (3,222)
The Union of Concerned Scientists offer three key points that should be met in order for the clean energy sector to help the US recover from the COVID-19 recession:
- Assure employees their employers will ensure their health and safety upon returning to work,
- Bolster the clean energy industry with federal funding subsidies,
- Extend renewable energy tax credits.