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Vermont's Solar Jobs Took A Hit In 2017, According To National Report

Solar trackers installed in South Burlington in a field on a cloudy day are pictured in this July 27, 2011
Toby Talbot
Associated Press
Solar trackers installed in South Burlington are pictured in this July 27, 2011 file photo. According to an economic analysis by The Solar Foundation, the number of solar industry jobs in Vermont took a tumble last year.

A new economic analysis shows that Vermont lost 232 full-time jobs in the solar industry last year.

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The findings come from the National Solar Jobs Census by a nonprofit group called The Solar Foundation.

Austin Davis, the communications and operations associate with the trade group Renewable Energy Vermont, says the job losses represent a 13-percent decline in solar jobs in Vermont.

“These are people. These are, you know, people who are feeding families, who are participating in their community,” Davis says.

According to Davis, the dip in 2017 marks the first time Vermont has seen a drop in solar industry jobs since the census began. Davis says the decline is the result of changes to Vermont’s net metering program, which creates incentives for small and medium-scale solar generation projects.

The regulations governing that program changed at the beginning of 2017; Davis says the number of net metering applications approved last year dropped by 50 percent as a result of those changes.

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