Despite the negative publicity surrounding the Solyndra bankruptcy, the future appears bright for the solar sector, especially now that Mr. Obama has won a second term.
The number of jobs in the solar industry has skyrocketed in recent years, jumping from about 93,000 in 2010 to nearly 120,000 today, according to figures from Mr. Harris and the Solar Foundation. The price of solar power projects has also slid dramatically, putting it in a position to compete with natural gas and other fuels for the near future.
“The industry has gone through tremendous growth … we’ve struggled to find industries that can generate jobs like that,” Mr. Harris said.
The China question
He also decried a potential trade war with China, which heavily subsidizes its solar companies and sells products to American buyers, putting U.S. manufacturers at a disadvantage.
While some within the sector have called for the federal government to impose tariffs on Chinese goods or take other steps, Mr. Harris called such a strategy “a mistake” and said the nation must avoid such a conflict with the Asian power.
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Ben Wolfgang is a national reporter for The Washington Times. Before coming to the Times, he spent four years as a political reporter in Pennsylvania. His focus is on education and science policy. Ben lives in southeast D.C. and has played guitar in several bands while still in Pennsylvania. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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