Is solar power viable in the Midwest? Absolutely! In fact, solar power– and clean energy sector job creation– is on the rise in Ohio and other Midwestern states.
The Midwest, Northwest, and Northeast are good climates for solar power generation because solar panels still produce energy when it’s cloudy or snowy, though production peaks on the sunniest days.
This summer, Minnesota’s community solar groups have been especially active as have Michigan’s.
In fact, Germany (hardly known for its sunny climes) is breaking solar power records and leading the global shift to renewable energy.
Solar in Ohio
Wyandot Solar Facility and Napoleon Solar Project are two of the largest solar installations in Ohio (each has a 10 MW capacity, enough, according to the Solar Energy Industry Association, to “power over 1,000 homes”).
The Solar Energy Industries Association shares some facts about Ohio (their words, my emphasis):
- There are currently more than 171 solar companies at work throughout the value chain in Ohio, employing 2,900.
- In 2012, Ohio installed 25 MW of solar electric capacity, ranking it 16th nationally.
- Ohio ranks 15th in the country in cumulative installed solar capacity. There is enough solar energy installed in the state to power 7,700 homes.
- In 2012, $61 million was invested in Ohio to install solar on homes and businesses.
- Average installed residential and commercial photovoltaic system prices in Ohio fell by 26% last year. National prices have also dropped steadily— by 13% from last year and 34% from 2010.
Green careers in the Midwest
A study released by Environmental Entrepreneurs includes a list of the states that added the most green sector jobs in the second quarter of 2013. Included in that top ten list? Illinois, Kansas, and Missouri. Between those three states, they added nearly 9,000 jobs in the clean energy sector.
To learn more:
- Exploring community solar in Granville, OH
- Report: Ohio renewable energy law cuts costs, emissions
- In unlikely alliance, Wisconsin Libertarians back solar plan
What do you think about the future of solar power in the Midwest? Share your thoughts below or shoot us an email. We’d love to hear your insights.