• Steve Eberly

Rural Renewables: Jobs Across Indiana

Updated: Aug 4, 2020

The recent study released by Dr. Michael Hicks from Ball State indicates that as the renewables industry grows, Hoosier jobs related to that sector will increase from 29,000 to 33,000. Jobs that according to the study will be much more geographically diverse around Indiana, rather than in just a few counties (as much of our energy related jobs are today). In fact, over one-third of all Indiana counties either have a wind or solar project or a project in development!

When Dr. Hicks discusses the number of jobs from wind and solar projects, he includes not only the jobs related directly to building and running the projects. He also includes all the indirect jobs that come with it.

Right now there are 37 Indiana companies that support the supply chain for renewables. That number will likely grow as we expand renewable generation in our state. That’s construction jobs, engineering jobs, operating technicians, regional electric grid management, transportation, manufacturing, lawyers, bankers, and on and on. Take for example Fronius, which has its US Headquarters in Portage, IN and produces components for solar panels.

The landmark Ball State Study estimates that for every 50-megawatt project related to wind, 250 direct and indirect jobs will be needed. (Remember: As I’ve noted in previous blogs, 500 megawatts can power up to 5,000 homes.) Jobs that, according to the study, will have an average wage of $47,630 per year. For a 50-megawatt solar installation, 477 jobs will be supported with a projected wage of $57,205 per year. That’s good jobs right here supporting our families, friends, and neighbors.

In our smallest and most financially challenged communities, a renewables project can be an important factor in sustaining – and growing - what we have. Jobs matter, and when you think about it, there are a lot of jobs tied to the growth of Indiana renewables. Good jobs.