Solar energy can create more good jobs

Ragan column: Iowa is known across the country as a leader in renewable energy, including ethanol, biodiesel and wind. These industries are built on Iowa's natural resources and benefit Iowans through lower energy costs, increased crop values and new jobs. In 2016 alone, Iowa jobs in clean energy grew by seven percent. Solar energy holds even more promise for Iowa. The sun that helps grow our crops also can power homes, farms and businesses.

Since 2012, Iowans have installed more than 2,500 solar projects in all of Iowa's 99 counties. These projects lower energy costs and raise property values, with rural counties leading the way. Many Iowa utilities recognize the appeal of solar and are making it a viable option for their customers. More than 700 Iowans now work in the solar field, and 47 Iowa businesses are part of the solar energy supply chain. The demand for solar presents Iowa with continued opportunities for growth. We can do our part by ensuring Iowans have the knowledge to grow the industry and the skills to fill the jobs.

To learn more about the benefits of solar energy and how you can install it and use it, visit the Iowa Solar Energy Trade Association website.

Sen. Amanda Ragan (D-Mason City) serves Franklin, Butler and Cerro Gordo counties in Senate District 27. She can be reached at 515-281-3371 or 641-424-0874. Email her at amanda.ragan@legis.iowa.gov.