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Scrubbing Clean Energy Data

 

Qcells, a subsidiary of Hanwha Solutions, selected Gray Construction to design and build a new solar panel manufacturing facility in Cartersville, Georgia, and add an additional building to their existing campus in Dalton, Georgia. With both facilities operating at full capacity, Qcells’ total employment in Georgia will reach 4,000 jobs.

Rendering courtesy of Gray Construction

Industry project investment data from sectors and professional practices attached to clean tech and clean power are central to the sophisticated index behind Site Selection’s annual Sustainability Rankings, which last year saluted top performers such as Sweden, North Carolina and Austin, Texas.

Especially since the advent of the Inflation Reduction Act and the billions of federal dollars flowing toward efforts to manufacturer a cleaner, greener economy, the number of sources tracking such investment seems to be multiplying as fast as the professed jobs those projects are creating. The Steve Ballmer-backed USAFacts operation reports that clean energy accounts for 38% (3.1 million) of the 8,122,318 positions in the energy workforce as of 2022. Two organizations in particular — E2 and the American Clean Power Association (ACP) — are resources worth frequent scorecard check-ins.


In March, the ACP released its Clean Power Annual Market Report, which links to an interactive website where you can navigate the data. “The industry added a total of 33.8 gigawatts (GW) of new utility-scale clean energy projects, surpassing by 12.5% the previous annual installation record set in 2021,” the organization said, led by solar and storage.

“Clean energy is fundamental to the American economy, accounting for more than 75% of all new power brought online last year,” said ACP CEO Jason Grumet. “We are generating clean energy in every state and nearly every congressional district. It has been a banner year for storage and solar, and there is real excitement over the 123 newly announced manufacturing facilities that will bring economic development to communities across the country.”

That total doesn’t count 17 manufacturing projects that had yet to announce locations, according to the ACP’s Investing in America page. A map documenting the project locations and color-coded by type of technology shows a significant volume landing along the I-75 corridor and also in Texas, with solar manufacturing shining brightest of all. Among the report’s findings:

  • “Utility-scale solar energy — bolstered by favorable federal policies and decreasing costs — experienced an exceptional year with nearly 20 GW installed across 44 states. Texas and California led the country in solar additions, bringing 5.9 GW and 2.3 GW of new solar online respectively. More than half of the 94 GW of solar in operation at the end of 2023 came online between 2020 and 2023. And more is on the way, with over 92 GW in the pipeline.”
  • “Battery storage demonstrated near-exponential growth by almost doubling installed capacity with around 8 GW installed. This brings total operating capacity to 17 GW. California and Texas accounted for nearly three-quarters of the year’s storage additions, but a total of fifteen states added new storage capacity in 2023 … The rapid growth of storage was supported by a new tax credit for stand-alone storage, the boom in solar power, the value storage delivers during peak demand and times of grid stress, and a decline in prices for key battery materials.”
  • “Corporate buyers are playing an important role in driving up clean energy demand by purchasing clean power for their operations. The top three commercial and industrial (C&I) buyers in 2023 were Amazon, Meta, and Google. Meta leads as the top buyer of operating clean power, while Amazon leads with the most total clean power capacity contracted.”

The second resource, E2, by its own methodology has tracked 301 new projects since the advent of the IRA. The E2 map only accentuates the geographic patterns seen in the ACP map. Here are the top 10 states by the three major indicators E2 tracks:

Top 10 States by Number of Clean Energy Projects Since IRA

State No. of Projects Capital Investment Jobs
1. Michigan 29 $11,686,700,000 12,170
2. Georgia 27 $15,086,500,000 15,481
3. South Carolina 24 $14,396,900,000 13,589
4. Texas 21 $7,769,000,000 8,811
5. North Carolina 18 $19,230,459,000 8,868
6. Ohio 18 $7,073,800,000 4,854
7. Tennessee 15 $5,283,700,000 4,735
8. California 13 $1,600,000,00 160
9. New York 12 $785,000,000 2,799
10. Indiana 10 $2,563,500,0004,222 4,222


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Top 10 States by Clean Energy Jobs Since IRA

State No. of Projects Capital Investment Jobs
1. North Carolina 18 $19,230,459,000 8,868
2. Georgia 27 $15,086,500,000 15,481
3. South Carolina 24 $14,396,900,000 13,589
4. Michigan 29 $11,686,700,000 12,170
5. Texas 21 $7,769,000,000 8,811
6. Ohio 18 $7,073,800,000 4,854
7. Nevada 6 $6,600,000,000 5,250
8. Arkansas 2 $5,901,000,000 500
9. Tennessee 15 $5,283,700,000 4,735
10. Oklahoma 6 $3,650,000,000 1,490

Top 10 States by Number of Clean Energy Projects Since IRA

State No. of Projects Capital Investment Jobs
1. Georgia 27 $15,086,500,000 15,481
2. South Carolina 24 $14,396,900,000 13,589
3. Michigan 29 $11,686,700,000 12,170
4. North Carolina 18 $19,230,459,000 8,868
5. Texas 21 $7,769,000,000 8,811
6. Nevada 6 $6,600,000,000 5,250
7. Ohio 18 $7,073,800,000 4,854
8. Tennessee 15 $5,283,700,000 4,735
9. Indiana 10 $2,563,500,000 4222
10. New York 12 $785,000,000 2,799

Among the top-performing states across all three categories, Georgia comes out on top with the highest index across the three categories.

Among the eight projects announced in March and added to the E2 total was a $1.5 billion investment by AESC to expand its electric vehicle battery manufacturing operations in South Carolina and a $1 billion investment by rPlus Energies to expand its energy storage capacity at the Green River Energy Center solar project in Utah. — Adam Bruns


 

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