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Robert Fitzpatrick
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Solar Sector Thriving With More Than 8,400 Workers
Sep 17, 2013 –

Contact: Heather Johnson, Bonnie McGilpin, Juli Hanscom – 617-725-4025

Governor Deval Patrick today announced that clean energy jobs in Massachusetts grew by 11.8 percent between June 2012 and June 2013, the second year of double digit growth. Over the past two years, clean energy jobs have grown by 24.4 percent with 5,557 clean energy companies now employing 79,994 workers across the Commonwealth.

The results of the 2013 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report were announced today at the Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems.

“Building a clean energy future is central to our growth strategy, and another year of double digit job growth is proof that our strategy is working,” said Governor Patrick. “We pursue our clean energy agenda because we cannot leave our future to chance. Our clean energy industry is putting thousands of our residents to work in every corner of the Commonwealth, catalyzing economic development and creating a healthier Massachusetts for the next generation.”

The job growth over the past year is eight times faster than the overall three percent growth rate among all industries combined in the Commonwealth over the same period.

“The Patrick Administration’s commitment to proactive clean energy policies, coupled with access to private capital and a skilled, educated workforce create the basis for the strong job creation numbers we see in this report,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan.

All four geographic regions of the state saw an increase in clean energy employment over the past 12 months. The South Coast experienced the most growth, with jobs increasing 14.3 percent from 2012 to 2013.

“Massachusetts remains a top destination for innovation, including clean energy innovation,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Greg Bialecki. “Supporting this sector, which is providing good jobs to residents throughout the state, will help us continue to grow our economy and maintain our competitive edge as a Commonwealth.”

The report for the first year directly counts jobs within the solar industry, with more than 8,400 workers spending at least 50 percent of their time supporting solar energy businesses. This growth follows on Massachusetts’ success in building a robust solar market. This year, Massachusetts reached the Patrick Administration's 2017 goal of 250 megawatts of solar installed four years early. To keep this sector thriving, Governor Patrick recently established a new goal of 1,600 megawatts of solar installed by 2020.

More than half of the Commonwealth’s 5,557 clean energy firms are classified as small businesses, meaning they have five or fewer full-time employees. The overwhelming majority of job creation over the past year came from new entrants into the sector, including clean energy startups.

Larger, more established and global companies have also shifted into the clean energy market and added to the industry’s growth in recent years. Firms like FedEx, Gillette and Shell, which recently opened an office in Cambridge focused on harnessing local innovation, have made clean energy part of their strategic investments.

“The dramatic influx of new firms and the growth in small companies in the industry show the success we’ve had in growing this sector from the ground up,” said Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) CEO Alicia Barton. “Our investments in internships and job training, bringing technologies to the marketplace and infrastructure projects are driving this growth and creating jobs across the Commonwealth.”

For the second straight year, manufacturing and assembly jobs rose, this year by 20.6 percent. Clean energy engineering and research jobs grew by 32.4 percent.

“The remarkable growth in Massachusetts’ clean energy industry in recent years proves that the combination of forward-thinking clean energy policies and a strong innovation economy is the right model for sustainable economic growth,” said New England Clean Energy Council President Peter Rothstein.

The 2013 Massachusetts Clean Energy Industry Report, which includes a breakdown of company and employment data by technology sector and geographic region and information on workforce trends, was prepared for MassCEC by BW Research Partnership.

"The Massachusetts clean energy sector's continued growth highlights the importance of leveraging innovative entrepreneurs and research universities and the importance of informed consumers that provide strong demand for clean energy goods and services all across the Commonwealth," said the report's author, Philip Jordan of BW Research Partnership.

Please visit this animated map of clean energy installations across the Commonwealth.