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Solar energy has a positive impact not only in the Maryland economy, but in the national economy as well. The first, and most obvious example is the decrease in the use of foreign imported oil as an energy source keeping that money in the United States.

By the end of 2016, the U.S. will be generating enough clean solar energy to power 8 million homes, helping to offset 45 million metric tons of damaging carbon emissions – the equivalent of removing 10 million cars off our roads and highways.

The solar industry added 35,000 jobs in 2015, up 20% from the previous year, according to the Solar Foundation, a nonprofit in Washington D.C., not funded by solar companies. In contrast, oil and gas firms slashed nearly 17,000 extraction jobs in 2015 as energy prices continue to plummet. Oil prices are down a stunning 70% in the last 18 months and hovering just over $30 a barrel, a 12-year low. There are about 209,000 solar energy employees in the U.S. They include solar panel installers, designers, engineers, sales folks and managers.

Today, the solar industry workforce is bigger than that of oil and gas construction, and nearly three times the size of the entire coal mining workforce.

brighter solar installer on roofThese workers are primarily employed by small to middle-size companies in local communities. This explosive growth has helped spur the creation of new jobs and provided employment for various companies involved in the renewable energy industry.

There are many more ways solar energy benefits the economy, directly and indirectly. By reducing your home’s use of traditional energy sources, you help keep natural ecosystems intact, reducing taxpayer funded clean ups and potentially devastating oil spills and natural gas leaks. If your photovoltaic solar panels generate more energy than your home uses, you can sell energy back to your local utility company, leaving more money in your pocket to spend at restaurants, movie theaters, or financial investments.