Thank you all very much, if there's one thing Mother Nature has been reminding us this past week, it's that the sun is one of our most abundant natural resources.
A special word of thanks to the men and women of the companies that made today possible, Maja Wessels, Laura Abram, and everyone with First Solar, Tony Alexander and everyone with First Energy, and Rose Baldwin and everyone with Belectric,
And of course to President Guy Altieri and everyone with Hagerstown Community College, Secretary Maynard, Treasurer Kopp -- whose vote on the Board of Public Works made today possible -- the Washington County Commission, and last but not least Delegate Donoghue and the local delegation.
And thanks to the people of Hagerstown and Washington County for your hospitality, and vision in housing what will be Maryland's largest solar project.
Solar energy means Maryland Jobs.
In 2007, Maryland didn't really have much of a solar sector at all. Today, thanks to the choices we've made together over these past five years, we've now put 2,000 men and women to work in solar sector jobs.
And with the choices we made on solar this past legislative session, we can now estimate that over the next six years, we'll put another 10,000 Marylanders to work in solar sector jobs.
This project alone, in fact, will support 125 construction jobs. That's worth a round of applause.
Job Creation is a Choice
In Maryland, we've set big, enterprise wide strategic goals for creating green jobs, increasing our in-state renewable generation 20% by 2022, reducing greenhouse emissions 25% by 2020, and reducing per capital electricity consumption and demand 15% by 2015.
Why? Because progress is a choice. Job creation is a choice. And when we choose to generate cleaner, greener energy here in Maryland, we create Maryland jobs.
This past session, we chose to continue our progress advancing solar energy in Maryland.
Over these past five going on six years, we've chosen to create a solar carve out in our Renewable Energy Portfolio standard,
We've chosen to team with schools, universities, and other public partners on Power Purchase Agreements that make green energy more affordable,
We've chosen to use federal investment from President Obama's Recovery & Reinvestment Act to weatherize Maryland homes,
We've chosen to advance on-shore wind, we've chosen to keep plugging away on off-shore wind,
We've chosen to be the first State in America to adopt the International Green Construction Code, we've chosen to require new public buildings earn LEED Silver Certification,
We've chosen to create a Sustainable Communities Tax Credit to revitalize our hometowns and downtowns in clean, green, sustainable ways.
Recapitalizing the American Dream
Nobody else is going to come in and make these choices for us.
The new global reality is that China is creating 100,000 clean energy industry jobs each year. The new global reality is that China is now building half the world's solar panels and wind turbines,
And Chinese companies control two thirds of the global solar photovoltaic cell production market. As for our American market share, it's decreased from 42% to 10%.
It's not what other countries are doing to us. It's what we're not doing for ourselves.
And the tea-party controlled House of Representatives is determined to make sure we don't do a darned thing about it at the federal level.
What does all this mean for State like Maryland? We can either get going, or we can get left behind.
We can either capitulate, or we can do our part to recapitalize the American dream.
We can move forward, or we can fall back. That's why the choices we make to move forward with solar here in Washington County and throughout our State matter. Thank you all very much.