February 14, 2018
Solar energy is gaining ground in Wyoming with both home and business owners generating their own electricity. Solar power installation has become increasingly affordable, and Wyomingites have taken full advantage of this opportunity to generate their own power. Over the last several months, Powder River Basin Resource Council (Resource Council) has collected stories from both solar energy users and installers, which are now being shared through RENEWyoming, a multimedia campaign.
“Wyoming is not alone in this solar trend; nationally and globally solar technology has improved, and prices have come down accordingly. The US now has 49 Gigawatts of solar power installed, and last year solar accounted for 25 percent of new electrical capacity,” said Resource Council member and solar user Gillian Malone. “People enjoy being able to independently generate their own power for a variety of reasons. It really helps that it’s becoming more affordable all the time.”
The Resource Council launched the RENEWyoming campaign to assist people around the state who are interested in going solar. The campaign involves storytelling through video, print, and social media, as well as public information that provides more in-depth discussion on opportunities and barriers associated with renewables in Wyoming.
“Not only do we hope to educate people on the benefits of going solar, but we also hope that our stories will inspire people to set up their own systems,” said Resource Council member Christy Gerrits, who powers her home with solar. “The number of solar installers in the state is growing along with demand, and they are always happy to answer people’s questions.”
Solar power is a growth industry accounting for 260,000 jobs nationwide, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. The US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics has named “solar installer” as the fastest-growing job of the next decade, projecting 105 percent growth.
“Solar power is energy for our future. The industry is creating jobs right here at home, and we need that in Wyoming where we are trying to diversify our economy,” said Gerrits. “This is an opportunity for us to produce our own clean energy while helping fuel new job growth. It’s a win-win for everyone.”