Pennsylvania’s rural counties just might hold the key to substantial job growth.

According to a report from E2, a non-partisan organization of business leaders and investors, there are 70,000 people employed in clean energy, a 6 percent increase from 2016. Part of this increase is because of the open rural areas Pennsylvania has to offer.

Take Lancaster County for instance. It “has the largest renewable energy generating capacity in the state, with 720-plus MW (Megawatts)” According to E2. Lancaster may lead the state for now but if there is another 6 percent increase across the state from 2017 to 2018, as is projected then that could be subject to change.

Lancaster’s large farming industry is one of the reasons why it is leading the state. Its open fields and farmer’s unused land allow for wind and solar farms to pop up around the county. Power companies have yet to take full advantage of Lancaster farmland. Many feel that they could do a better and provide the economy with more jobs in the process.

“I thought myself for a long time that if I ran a power company I would want to put solar panels on every farm in Pennsylvania,” says Deputy Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Cheryl Cook.

If power companies focused on this goal they would not only help the planet but also grow the economy. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics from May of 2016 a Wind Turbine Technician makes an annual average salary of $54,360. Clean energy jobs are well paid and provide middle class workers with employment opportunities.

These and many other positions are boosting the middle class of not only Lancaster county but the entire state. Job growth in renewable energy means more good paying jobs and economic growth. A 6 percent increase could be the minimum increase that is seen from 2017-2018 across the state. With an expanding industry like this there will certainly be more growth and opportunity in the years to come.

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