Local Connection: Solar Jobs

Local Connection: Solar Jobs

By: Rick Blangiardi

A new report by the solar foundation seems to suggest what everyone has long suspected: we have lost hundreds of solar-related jobs.

It's 400 to be exact. While many states, most notably Massachusetts, Texas, Nevada, North Carolina and Illinois, have made big gains in solar job growth, Hawaii is falling backward.

It was one of only six states of the top 20 providing solar jobs that measured a job loss from 2013 to 2014. Two years ago we had 2,600 jobs and now we have 2,400.

Everyone seems to want to blame Hawaiian Electric Company and statistics provided by the state show that residential PV permits in Honolulu have fallen by more than half from 965 in 2014 to 433 in 2015 compared to the first month and a half of each year.

HECO said it is committed to tripling the amount of solar it installs by 2030. Next-era, the company that wants to buy Hawaiian Electric Industries, is likewise committed to solar.

Let's hope that the solar industry in Hawaii can make a rebound and that HECO lives up to its promises to add to the neighborhood circuits that make solar penetration safe and reliable.

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