Massachusetts-based Evergreen Solar received $58 million in state aid and tax incentives to build a plant to produce solar panels. The company upheld its end of the bargain, creating double the number of jobs it promised the state. But Evergreen still lost $167 million in the last year, and has decided to send 200 jobs overseas to China in order to stay afloat.
China is investing billions in what it sees as a 'future' industry, trying to corner the market on green technology, and with a cheap labor force, many American companies are left with little option.
Fox News is on the Job Hunt, checking out job opportunities in the growing industry of solar energy.
Solar Energy in the U.S.
• Solar energy comprises less than one percent of the world's total electricity generation
• Solar power accounts for slightly less than 1 percent of the nation's energy supply
• Renewable energy accounts for some seven percent of the nation's power
• Solar energy provides electricity and hot water to more than 100,000 homes, businesses and utilities in the United States
• 2008: The U.S. had about 8,800 megawatts (MW) of installed solar capacity
• One megawatt of solar PV capacity can power 150 to 250 homes - 8,800 megawatts can power some 2.2 million homes
• Germany and Spain are the top markers for solar electricity
• Solar panels typically weigh between 30 and 40 pounds; batteries can weigh double that- or more
• Germany, the world leader in solar power (5,400 megawatts), gets about 1% of the country's total energy generating capacity from the sun
Cost to the Consumer
• Installation of a solar panel rooftop system is likely to cost at least $20,000
States and Solar Power
• 22 states and the District of Columbia offer rebate programs to promote the installation of solar water heating or solar panels for electricity generation.
• There are nearly 50,000 solar-panel installations in California
• Solar capacity in California grew by 1/3 from 2007 to 2008
• California's solar capacity represents about two-thirds of the national total
• The energy California gets from the sun represents about one-quarter of 1 percent of its total energy capacity
• New Jersey, Colorado and Nevada follow California for the most solar capacity in the United States
• 10 states, led by Colorado and including Hawaii, Connecticut, Oregon, Arizona, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts more than doubled their rooftop solar capacity in 2008
Solar Energy Jobs
• 2007: 62.5 percent of all clean energy generation jobs in the solar industry
• From 1998-2007, jobs in solar energy increased 19.1 percent
• There are about 7,000 solar photovoltaic installers working on the United States
• About half of all solar PV installers work in California
• Wages for entry-level solar PV installers are about $12 to $15 an hour and vary by location, with crew leaders making between $20 and $25 an hour
Stimulus Funds and Solar Energy
• American Reinvestment and Recovery Act dedicates $117.6 million to expand and accelerate the development, deployment, and use of solar energy throughout the United States.