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COVID-19 hits Nebraska solar industry



Policy associate

Center for Rural Affairs

As the global COVID-19 pandemic has swept across Nebraska, it has taken many clean energy jobs with it—especially in the solar energy industry.

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the novel coronavirus has led to the loss of 105 jobs in Nebraska, a decrease of 29% from the original forecast. In addition to job loss, COVID-19 may also impact the projected growth of solar in the state. As recently as 2019, the solar industry employed 1,332 Nebraskans and about 47 megawatts of solar energy was installed, with an expected growth of 252 MW over the next five years.

As adoption of solar energy continues to expand in rural Nebraska, officials can embrace this opportunity to create jobs and expand the state’s economy.

Meanwhile, supporting the solar industry will help farmers, small businesses and homeowners across Nebraska cut down on energy costs. Importantly, lease and tax payments also flow into local, especially rural, economies—empowering them to invest in roads, schools and local businesses.

Local and state officials looking for ways to build an energy-independent future for Nebraskans should seriously consider policies that support solar energy which is a proven economic development opportunity and may be an innovative way to anchor an unpredictable economy.

More information and resources about the responsible siting of projects and the economic impact of solar in rural Nebraska can be found at


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