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By Aidan Connelly
Climbing six spots, Massachusetts has become the fourth largest solar jobs provider in the the nation, according to a national solar job census. The state currently provides around 6,400 jobs in solar energy. This bump in place is the result of a 42 percent increase of solar jobs in Massachusetts over 2013, along with a doubling of the commonwealth’s solar capacity to 425 megawatts.
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The top rated state was California with nearly 50,000 jobs in the solar industry. Arizona and New Jersey were ranked second and third, with 8,500 and 6,500 jobs respectively.
Ben Hellerstein of Environment Massachusetts sees this census report as a positive step in the upward battle towards complete reliance on clean, renewable energy.
“The time for us to get serious about renewable energy is right now and that’s why it’s so encouraging for us to see the tremendous growth in solar power in Massachusetts over the last few years.”
Although this news is certainly reflective of positive change, Hellerstein says there are still enormous steps the state must take to increase solar energy.
“We know that if we’re really going to achieve our goals of solar energy in Massachusetts and move away from dirty and polluting fossil fuels that are harming our health and contributing to climate change, it’s going to take more support from the state government as well and so that’s why we are encouraging and supporting efforts to increase the state’s solar energy goal and expand the net metering program and other programs that are encouraging the growth of solar in Massachusetts”
Despite reaching solar energy goals three years ahead of schedule, Governor Deval Patrick is continuing to look forward as well, setting the goal to increase the state’s solar capacity by more than sixfold by 2020.