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

New report shows Pennsylvania’s solar & smart building industries could support 11,600 jobs annually
Media Contact:

Kate Ringness –  |  866.517.5045 ext. 701

Date Published: April 6, 2016

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Building on Pennsylvania’s strengths in solar energy and smart building technology can maximize job growth and give the state a competitive economic edge. That’s according to the Pennsylvania Jobs Project, a new report created in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University 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 Kate Ringness, program manager for the American Jobs Project.

“For Pennsylvania, this approach could employ an average of almost 11,600 people annually in the solar and smart building industries over the next 15 years,” Ringness 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 Pennsylvania Jobs Project proposes innovative strategies and policies designed to create thousands of skilled jobs that pay well for Pennsylvanians today and into the future and informed by principles of competition, local control, and less red tape.

“This exciting report from the American Jobs Project, which shows the economic might of existing advanced energy companies in Pennsylvania and the incredible potential for job creation in the future, can only be realized if elected officials support the proper policies now,” said state Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky, D-Delaware. “I look forward to working with my colleagues in the legislature to implement commonsense policy solutions and push Pennsylvania toward a diversified energy economy while creating thousands of jobs.”

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 Pennsylvania Jobs Project finds that:

  • The retirement of coal facilities presents Pennsylvania with an opportunity to increase investments in the advanced energy sector. Attracting new companies and growing existing solar and smart building companies located in Pennsylvania could ensure that money filtering out of the coal industry is spent within the commonwealth to boost the local economy and maintain jobs for Pennsylvanians.
  • Pennsylvania’s solar industry is an ideal mechanism for job growth due to its strong foundation of existing solar companies, supportive policies, potential for export to neighboring states.
  • Pennsylvania’s solar industry has the opportunity to employ an average of 5,700 residents annually over the next 15 years.
  • The smart building and energy efficiency industry in Pennsylvania is ripe for growth due to its existing anchor companies, utility-implemented energy efficiency programs, local government energy efficiency leadership in major cities, and state incremental electricity savings and peak demand targets.
  • The smart building industry in Pennsylvania could employ an average of over 5,900 Pennsylvanians annually over the next 15 years.

“The American Jobs Project’s focus on the integrated systems of energy production and management in Pennsylvania can help us innovate and develop a vibrant and resilient energy workforce in this critical growth area for the 21st century,” said Professor H. Scott Matthews, Associate Head of the Department of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University. “The report provides clear and concrete ideas to our state’s leaders, industries, and citizens on how we can accomplish this.”

The American Jobs Project website, which launched this month, features reports on Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania report, visit