Solar energy companies in Pennsylvania are seeking to tap into the growth of the solar industry and build jobs in the state, but the solar energy industry is currently experiencing a supply crisis and they say they need a way to fill the void.
Solar energy manufacturer Solar Energy Industries of Pennsylvania said on its website it is seeking a $15 million grant to help it meet its solar energy needs in the 2018-19 fiscal year.
Solar Energy Industries is part of the Solar Energy Association of Pennsylvania, which has been pushing for solar energy companies to invest in the solar power industry.
Solar and wind energy companies also have been able to raise funding to invest more in the industry, said Bill Tapp, director of solar energy programs for the solar group.
Solar energy was the fastest-growing energy sector in the U.S. in 2019, with more than 3,200 new jobs and another 5,000 installed in the past fiscal year, according to the U,S.
Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Pennsylvania Solar Energy Industry Development Act, signed by Gov.
Tom Wolf in September, would help companies get financing for new equipment, training, and hiring.
The Solar Energy Jobs Act, introduced in March, aims to bring more jobs to Pennsylvania and spur the growth and development of the renewable energy industry, Tapp said.
Solar is the second-largest energy source in the United States, with about 2.3 million megawatts of installed capacity in the country.
Solar is now the third-largest source of renewable energy in the nation, according the American Wind Energy Association.
The state has been working to expand solar in recent years as it becomes more affordable and the solar economy develops.
Last year, the state created a $1 million grant for solar companies to build their facilities, install their equipment, and hire employees, according.
The bill would create a $500,000 incentive program for companies to hire qualified solar workers.
The program would allow companies to set up an incentive payment plan for up to 25% of the wages of new employees and up to $500 per month for new employees.
The solar industry is growing, but it needs the help, Tipp said.
The state has invested in solar energy but it is not being adequately funded, he said.