Solar Could Power 5000 Jobs In Iowa

These days it isn’t enough for a source of renewable energy to be carbon-free and help ensure the preservation of precious finite resources and the environment. If you want to sell the benefits of a particular renewable energy scheme, you need to demonstrate them in terms of cash return and job creation.
In the US state of Iowa, a new report says that developing solar energy as a power source has the potential to provide up to 5000 jobs in the next five years and provide over $332 million to the Iowan economy.
The report, “Shining Bright: Growing Solar Jobs in Iowa,” was commissioned by the independent Iowa Policy Project, in collaboration with the Iowa Environmental Council and the Environmental Law and Policy Center. It found Iowa already has good renewable energy policy in place, with 3,675 MW of wind power in 2010, growing from just 243 MW of capacity in 2000.
“Iowa has a choice to make: sit on the sidelines and watch as surrounding states attract the investment and jobs solar will inevitably bring, or aggressively pursue solar energy as it did decades ago with wind and become a national leader,” the report states.
Iowa State University researcher David Swenson, who co-authored the report, found that by setting a target to install 300 megawatts (MW) of solar power the average annual impact would be:
– $174 million value added to the economy
– $302 million increased industrial output
– $99 million increased labour income.
The report found government incentives, such as a $10 million solar funding bill currently under debate would prompt private investment and encourage uptake of solar energy in Iowa. 
"Wind power has created huge benefits for Iowa, and solar can do the same," said Steve Falck, from Environmental Law & Policy Center. "Now is the time for the Legislature to step up to the plate and turn this job-creating potential into reality."