Letters to the Editor: California’s ‘better’ solar plan is still a giveaway to utilities By Jennifer McQuade, The Sacramento Bee on January 12, 2014
If you ask people in California today what solar power means to the state, most likely you’ll get a wide range of answers. If you ask people five years ago, you’ll get a range of answers today.
California is leading the nation in solar power.
California leads the nation in the number of jobs in the solar industry.
California leads the nation in solar jobs per capita.
California has the world’s largest solar power project: the 40-megawatt Ivanpah project in the Mojave Desert.
And the other thing…
California is the world’s most expensive place for solar photovoltaic power.
We’ll get to the Ivanpah thing in a minute, but first, let’s consider solar’s future. Because, you know, this is California. The world’s ninth-largest economy, one that produces more than half of the world’s electricity. Our solar industry is still growing, and it is still a young industry.
According to a 2011 report from the Union of Concerned Scientists, California’s solar industry added 1,631 jobs in the 12 months ending in June 2011. Those jobs are now supporting 6,924 jobs in the solar industry across the state.
That’s far more jobs than the 8,700 other solar advocates in California are counting.
Of course, the solar industry has been growing rapidly for decades. Since it began, the state has supported more than 600,000 direct jobs in the solar industry – that’s a job every day, for one year, for five years.
And those are mostly in-state workers, or those who work for companies headquartered in California.
Last year, the state’s unemployment rate was 5.7 percent, below the national average of 7 percent. California’s