Opinion: Solar is creating a bright economic future in Vermont

A recent study from the Solar Foundation found that Vermont had more solar jobs per capita in 2013 than any other state. This is particularly impressive when you consider how the solar industry has thrived across the country, providing plenty of competition. The numbers for 2014 aren’t in yet, but based on what I’ve seen this year, Vermont will likely maintain its No. 1 spot in the rankings.
Many of these new jobs go to recent graduates of our local schools, or maybe to those returning from college elsewhere, excited to pursue a solar job back at home. When I graduated from Middlebury College in 2004, having grown up in Addison County, this kind of opportunity was much harder to find. Still other positions have been created or expanded at existing companies in response to new solar business opportunities.
Solar jobs are distributed more evenly around Vermont than jobs in other tech sectors, which tend to gravitate more heavily toward Chittenden County. Distributed generation is a key principle in developing renewable energy projects. Basically it means they can’t all be clumped together in one spot. This means that if we support this industry, it will continue to provide green jobs and clean energy for every town and gore across our state.
There’s no question about it: Solar is generating jobs in Vermont, and our future can be bright.
Caleb Elder
Editor’s note: The writer has worked in the solar power industry for seven years.

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