Where Are Nevada's Solar Jobs?
Nevada is a hotbed when it comes to solar industry jobs. At least that’s what a recent Solar Foundation report said.
It estimated Nevada added 3,500 jobs in the past year. That brings the state’s solar job total to 5,900.
Not bad for a relatively new industry, especially one with several spectacular failures on its resume.
Freelance journalist Ucilia Wang told KNPR’s State of Nevada that most of the jobs in Nevada, so far, have come in retail.
“Nevada has been pretty impressive in getting this number of jobs over the past year,” Wang said. “Most of the jobs across the country, not just in Nevada and California, are on the retail side of the business.”
But with the arrival of Tesla Motor's battery factory in northern Nevada, the state could play a bigger role in manufacturing of green technologies, including solar panels.
Politicians and industry insiders have been betting millions of dollars on Nevada becoming the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy.
But as Desert Companion reporter Heidi Kyser pointed out most of Nevada’s power still comes from outside the state and more than half is generated by burning natural gas.
“Even though we have our renewable energy portfolio standards of 25 percent by 2015, we don’t seem to be moving toward that goal very quickly,” Kyser said.
Currently, only 2 percent of homeowners in Nevada are using solar power, but Guy Snow with the nonprofit Solar NV said he is seeing more and more people interested in using solar power. He said to increase the number of homeowners and businesses using solar power there needs to be more education.
“The more we talk to people, the more they talk to their friends and neighbors and the more people get interested and the more they can make decisions based on facts,” Snow said.
Snow said he wants to make Nevada the solar state not the silver state but to do that he believes there needs to be more investor involvement and less regulation on solar plant projects.
“These large systems can be installed throughout the Nevada desert without harming the environment,” Snow said.
Copyright 2015 KNPR-FM. To see more, visit http://www.knpr.org/.
Guy Snow, president, Solar NV; Heidi Kyser, reporter, Desert Companion; Ucilia Wang, freelance journalist