WASHINGTON - Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), released the following statement today ahead of President Obama's speech outlining steps Congress should take to create jobs:
"The jobs crisis in the U.S. is pervasive and systemic. We need real policy solutions from Washington that aggressively attack unemployment while balancing the need to be fiscally prudent with taxpayer dollars. The price of solar has decreased by 30 percent in the last year. And while some companies are struggling to stay competitive, the solar energy industry overall is healthy, growing and a major generator of jobs in our economy.
"Thanks to smart, efficient federal policy over the last few years, solar has grown from a small niche sector to one of the fastest growing industries in America with more than 5,500 businesses - small and large - across the solar value chain. We employ nearly 100,000 Americans from coast to coast; more than double the number working in our industry in 2009. Not many industries can claim a 100 percent job growth rate in the last two years.
"In 2010, despite a weak economic recovery, the U.S. solar industry grew 67 percent from $3.6 billion in 2009 to $6 billion in value. This growth has continued in 2011. Also, U.S. solar is contributing as a net exporter of products and materials, even to China.
"I look forward to hearing what President Obama presents tonight and hope his Administration embraces solar energy as a major part of the package to create jobs. I am also looking forward to this fall when the industry will show Members of Congress the jobs and economic growth already being created by solar businesses in their district and how effective federal policy can create tens of thousands of new jobs."
Established in 1974, the Solar Energy Industries Association(R) is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. Through advocacy and education, SEIA is working to build a strong solar industry to power America. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to make solar a mainstream and significant energy source by expanding markets, removing market barriers, strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy.