Most people are familiar with solar energy’s environmental benefits, but solar energy adoption also presents numerous economic and community development opportunities. Solar expands local markets, reduces electricity costs, improves business competitiveness, and increases property values. It leads to short term jobs in construction, installation, and site development as well as long term positions in facility maintenance and operation. In rural communities where grid connection is difficult, solar provides an off-grid electricity source that helps residents save on their energy bills. Regions nationwide are building local workforces of designers, technicians, and installers to accommodate the increasing number of solar installations. By working collaboratively to meet local economic goals, communities can effectively use solar as a catalyst for sustainable economic development.
The National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) created the Solar for Economic Development Toolkit to provide a framework for using solar energy to boost regional growth. The toolkit presents basic information concerning the economic benefits of solar adoption and then explores different ways to finance, plan, and implement solar energy.