The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.
Untitled Document

Grant Program Supported up to 75,000 Wind and Solar Jobs: Congress Killed It Anyway

A federal grant program created to boost renewable energy development during the height of the economic crisis supported 75,000 jobs and more than $25 billion in economic activity, according to a new analysis from the Department of Energy.

The grant program was created in February of 2009 as part of the stimulus package. It allowed developers to take a cash grant through the Treasury in lieu of a tax credit, helping thaw out the frozen capital markets and stimulate strong activity in the renewable energy sector.

According to the report, Treasury grants supported 23,000 projects across the U.S. and helped add more than 13,000 megawatts of wind and solar capacity to the grid.

Between January of 2010 and December of 2011, the solar market grew 176 percent — driven in part by the availability of grants. The wind sector, which took a deep nosedive after the financial crisis, was able to develop more than 12,000 MW of projects with the support of the program.

In spite of this success, Congress failed to extend the program last year.

The incentive was also offered to biomass, landfill gas, hydro and geothermal technologies; however, the majority of grants went toward wind and solar. The Department of Energy report only tracked job creation and development figures for those two sectors.

It is difficult to isolate the exact influence that grants had on each installation. Some projects may have gone forward without the grant, others may have not. But the analysis does show that the gross economic impact was substantial, particularly along the component supply chain:

Construction- and installation-related expenditures are estimated to have supported an average of 52,000–75,000 direct and indirect jobs per year over the program’s operational period (2009–2011). This represents a total of 150,000–220,000 job-years.These expenditures are also estimated to have supported $9 billion–$14 billion in total earnings and $26 billion–$44 billion in economic output over this period. This represents an average of $3.2 billion–$4.9 billion per year in total earnings and $9 billion–$15 billion per year in output.

  • Indirect jobs, or jobs in the manufacturing and associated supply-chain sectors, account for a significantly larger share of the estimated jobs (43,000–66,000 jobs per year) than those directly supporting the design, development, and construction/installation of systems (9,400 per year).
  • The annual operation and maintenance (O&M) of these PV and wind systems are estimated to support between 5,100 and 5,500 direct and indirect jobs per year on an ongoing basis over the 20- to 30-year estimated life of the systems. Similar to the construction phase, the number of jobs directly supporting the O&M of the systems is significantly less than the number of jobs supporting manufacturing and associated supply chains (910 and 4,200–4,600 jobs per year, respectively).

The findings of this Department of Energy report are line with previous analyses. One report from EuPD Research concluded that an extension of the Treasury grant program through 2015 would create an additional 65,000 jobs in the solar industry alone.

However, Congressional leaders have shown no willingness to extend the successful program. In addition, a key tax credit for the wind industry, the Production Tax Credit, is set to expire at the end of the year. That could destroy another 37,000 jobs in the wind sector, according to industry estimates.

This article was originally published on Climate Progress and was republished with permission.

Untitled Document

Get All the Renewable Energy World News Delivered to Your Inbox - FREE!

Subscribe to Renewable Energy World Magazine and our award-winning e-Newsletter to stay up to date on current news and industry trends.

 Subscribe Now



Evaluating the Case for Module-Level Shutdown

Hannes Knopf With 2014 NEC adoption in full swing, many are anticipating what the next version of the code will hold for the PV in...

A Case Study in Energy-Transition Momentum

Tim King South Australia is clearly at the forefront of the global energy transition as it establishes a fast-moving model oth...

Listen Up: Can I Get Solar if my Roof is Shaded?

The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World Rooftop solar panels only work when they are in direct sunlight. So if you have a partially shaded roof, the output o...

US Senate Democrats Unveil Energy Bill That Restores PTC and Extends ITC

Brian Eckhouse, Bloomberg Senate Democrats unveiled a bill that would provide more tax credits for renewable energy while killing some tax ince...


Canadian Solar Signs Agreement with Mashiki Town and Kumamoto Prefecture to Build 47 MW Solar Plant in Japan

Canadian Solar Signs Agreement for 47 MW Solar Plant

NC State University Installs Student-Funded Spotlight Solar Structure to Drive Awareness and Adoption of Clean Energy

North Carolina State University (NC State) will today showcase its commitment to clean ...

NEC Energy Partners with Eos Energy Storage to Bring Revolutionary Energy Storage Product to Market

NEC Energy Solutions (“NEC ES”), a subsidiary of NEC Corporation, announced today that ...

$100 Discount on 5-day Advanced PV Project Experience Workshop

Upcoming 5-day Workshops: Nov. 7 - 11 Feb. 6 - 10


Beyond Utility 2.0: Part 4 “Next Steps”

Principles, Structure, and Policies of Energy Democracy Energy democracy can best be described as an electricity sy...

30 Minutes Off

Smartphones have become one of the most valuable tools in the business world. They give us access to our email, conta...

Weather watching

GCube, the renewable energy sector insurance underwriter, has launched a new Weather Risk Transfer mechanism to provi...

How to Save on Your Next Power Bill

  Your rooftop solar is going to generate less electricity over the winter months. Your hot water and he...


I am a reporter with, a blog published by the Center for American Progress. I am former editor and producer for, where I contributed stories and hosted the Inside Renewable Energy Podcast. Keep in to...


Volume 18, Issue 4


To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:


Tweet the Editors! @jennrunyon



Successfully Integrating Solar: A Proactive Approach

•      What does the increasing solar penetrati...

Solar Power Asset Management and Performance

SEIA and SEPA collaborated with industry leaders to present the first ev...

Solar Power Northeast

  From the team that produced Solar Power Southeast and the sol...


Fast facts: 4 things you need to know about the state of solar fina...

Fast facts: 4 things you need to know about the state of solar financing...

10 Questions You Should Be Asking

Tony Robbins is fond of saying that the quality of your life is directly...

Saving Vs. Gaining

Whenever I do a national keynote speech or customized coaching session f...


Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now