"Oregon tops in solar manufacturing"
Portland Business Journal - by Christina Williams
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Oregon led the nation in solar module manufacturing for the first 6 months of 2010, according to a new report out this week from the Solar Energy Industries Association.
It's the first time the group has ranked states by their solar manufacturing prowess. Oregon tops the list followed by Ohio, Massachusetts, Tennessee and Michigan.
Given that SolarWorld opened North America's largest solar manufacturing facility in Hillsboro two years ago, the No. 1 ranking for Oregon stands to reason, but the new ranking does provide a new bragging right — and it's catching people's attention.
"Most people are shocked," said Tom Kimbra, director of policy and research for SEIA. "It's really a great success story for Oregon."
The report, "U.S. Solar Market Insight, 2nd Quarter 2010," was launched to coincide with the Solar Power International conference underway in Los Angeles. It was completed in partnership with GTM Research.
Another report released this week suggests that while Oregon leads in manufacturing, the state is more middle-of-the-pack when it comes to solar-related employment.
According to the "National Solar Jobs Census 2010," released by the Solar Foundation, Oregon provides 3 percent of the nation's solar jobs, compared to 27 percent provided by California, 6 percent from Colorado and 4 percent from Arizona. The numbers, which include both manufacturing and installation jobs, are based on survey responses from solar industry employers.
The census figures, however, don't give an accurate portrayal of jobs on the ground. Based on the survey responses, Oregon has 872 solar jobs — a figure that is projected by the report to grow by 26 percent to 1,101 by next year. But SolarWorld alone employs 1,000 in Hillsboro, and Sanyo Solar in Salem employs 200.
The census, conducted by researchers at Cornell University and Green LMI Consulting, includes both manufacturing and installation jobs. Adding in those jobs in the count, Oregon has well over 1,200 people in solar-related employment.
Oregon ranks in the top 20 for solar installed capacity, adding just under 5 megawatts of new solar in the first half of this year, enough to power roughly 875 homes, bringing the state's total to 339 megawatts.