Advanced energy can grow Michigan’s economy and create good jobs

New report shows Michigan’s solar & smart building industries could support 12,000 jobs annually
Media Contact:

Henry Love –  |  866.517.5045 ext. 700

Date Published: April 8, 2016

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Building on Michigan’s strengths in solar power and smart buildings can maximize job growth and give the state a competitive economic edge. That’s according to the Michigan Jobs Project, a new report created in partnership with Professor Peter Adriaens at the University of Michigan and led by the American Jobs Project. The report is funded by The JPB Foundation, the Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute, and the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society.

“Our research shows that smart policies and a focus on industrial clusters can allow states to become hubs of innovation and job creation in advanced energy industries that dovetail with a state’s own strengths,” said Hank Love, project manager for the American Jobs Project.

“For Michigan, this approach could employ an average of almost 12,000 people annually in the solar and smart building industries over the next 15 years,” Love said.

Millions of Americans lost good-paying jobs during the recession, and unfortunately, many of the jobs created during the recovery have been in relatively low-skill, low-income occupations. In contrast, the Michigan Jobs Project proposes innovative strategies and policies designed to create thousands of skilled jobs that pay well for Michiganders today and into the future and informed by principles of competition, local control, and less red tape.

The report recommends innovative strategies to support job creation by capitalizing on growing market opportunities and aligning manufacturing with critical economic system components, including access to capital, innovation ecosystems, and workforce development.

The Michigan Jobs Project finds that:

  • In recent years, Michigan spent approximately $1.2 billion annually to import coal to the state, providing fuel to generate over half of Michigan’s electricity. Michigan can keep this money in-state and grow the economy by developing advanced energy industries.
  • Michigan’s solar industry is an ideal mechanism for job growth due to its strong foundation of pioneering anchor companies, world-class research centers, and increasing local demand for solar.
  • Michigan’s solar industry has the opportunity to employ an average of more than 7,500 Michiganders annually over the next 15 years.
  • The smart building and energy efficiency industry in Michigan is ripe for growth due to its large stock of aging buildings in need of energy upgrades, statewide efforts to reduce energy waste, and above-average electricity prices.
  • The smart building industry in Michigan could employ an average of more than 4,400 Michiganders annually over the next 15 years.

“Understanding the interconnectedness of industries in emerging value systems is key to unlocking economic growth potential and driving job creation,” said Peter Adriaens, Professor of Entrepreneurship & Strategy at the Ross School of Business. “This report has achieved a major milestone in the design of meaningful green industrial policy. Through a critical analysis of the real assets in Michigan, the authors have been able to tailor a viable path forward, grounded in sound business and macroeconomic strategy.”

The American Jobs Project website, which launched this month, features reports on Michigan and nine other states, as well as a Policy Bank detailing best-practices and innovative ideas for advanced energy job growth. To learn more, or to download a copy of the Michigan report, visit