“This study demonstrates that a significant opportunity exists for Florida’s economy to expand beyond tourist and real estate dollars and into the research, development and manufacturing of clean energy technologies”
This study, conducted by the Washington Economics Group (WEG), comes as the State Legislature is considering policies that would expand Florida’s economy, particularly in the area of solar power.
“This study demonstrates that a significant opportunity exists for Florida’s economy to expand beyond tourist and real estate dollars and into the research, development and manufacturing of clean energy technologies,” said Josh Kellam of Global Energy United. “Our company is committed to bring solar power manufacturing facilities and jobs to Florida if the right market conditions are created by a sound statewide policy. There could be dozens of businesses like ours if the Legislature removes the barriers to clean energy industry now.”
Specifically, the study indicates that hypothetical renewable energy legislation calling for 700MW in increased capacity would potentially create 40,000 new jobs over time, and expand total economic activity in Florida by $8.1 billion. The study further indicates that a strong policy would add an additional $2.1 billion in wages into the pockets of workers across industries – particularly in manufacturing, construction and research and development.
Texas and New Jersey have policies that have led to hundreds of millions invested in renewable energy technologies. New Jersey alone has seen more than 25,300 jobs and $282 million in private investment because of the state’s Clean Energy Program. Over the past five years, statewide economic development and business organizations in Florida have repeatedly put forward statewide strategic plans that call for innovation through research and the development of innovative business clusters, and now time is running out.
“Renewable energy is a developing business cluster with a strong research component. The seeds of where that research and economic activity will develop are being planted today,” said Jack Sullivan of the Florida Research Consortium. “We do not have the luxury of delaying action because others are not. The renewable industry will develop where the most fertile economic and policy ground is. There is no fall crop, it is that simple.”
WEG found that this policy, if implemented could, over time, generate $4 billion of direct investment in solar power generation projects, spurring the development of a robust and prosperous renewable energy industry and serving Floridians now and for generations to come.
“As this study shows, renewable energy such as solar power is a key source to potentially generate, high-wage, high-skilled jobs in Florida. This fact needs to be seriously considered as lawmakers debate this legislation,” said Tony Villamil of the Washington Economics Group. “Texas, New Jersey and even Georgia have prioritized their clean energy industries and created billions in investments and tens of thousands of jobs. The Sunshine State ought to be one of the country’s clean energy powerhouses, especially in solar.”