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Arizona second in number of solar jobs created

PHOENIX — Arizona ranked second in the nation for the creation of clean energy jobs during the fourth quarter of 2013.

The data was released by Environmental Entrepreneurs, E2, on their site

“For all of 2013, we saw more than 78,000 clean energy and clean transportation jobs announced in almost every state in the country,” said Bob Keefe, communications director for E2.

Even though the numbers are promising, the report revealed jobs announcements dropped 30 percent from 2012. According to E2, in Arizona, there have been more than a dozen clean energy jobs announcements since 2012, including a solar project in Gila Bend.

Keefe said clean energy jobs vary between solar, wind and biomass jobs.

“These are jobs that are everything from making the parts to installations, companies and big utility grade solar farms that you’re seeing across Arizona these days,” he said, adding some of the jobs include manufacturing of energy-efficient vehicles.

Another big project that has contributed to Arizona’s high ranking in clean energy jobs has been the outfitting of 4,000 solar panels across schools in the Tanque Verde Unified School District in Tucson. The school district alone created 60 new jobs to help the project.

Keefe also called for Congress to reinstate critical tax policies such as the wind industry production tax credit (PTC) and several energy efficiency tax incentives. Congress let these tax incentives expire at the end of 2013. He said with a renewal of the tax credits, states like Arizona can continue to advance to create more clean energy jobs.

During the fourth quarter of 2013, Arizona created 1,585 clean energy jobs. Texas led the top 10 states with 3,286 jobs and eight projects announced in the last quarter. Trailing Arizona was New York, with 1,265 jobs and six projects. Arizona didn’t tally any major projects during the last quarter.

When looking at the overall picture for clean job creation in all of 2013, Arizona does not crack the top 10. Texas led the way followed by Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Illinois, Nevada, Oregon, New York and Montana.

In a recent report, the Phoenix metro area ranked second for highest solar wattage per capita in the nation with 84.76. In February, the Solar Foundation also placed Arizona in the second spot for the number of solar jobs in the nation, trailing only California.