Hardly a week goes by these days without the announcement of a new job-creating solar plant sprouting up in California.

Today’s headlines were about plans for a 500 MW plant in King’s County
— one of the areas hardest hit by the recession. Several
California-based solar companies are heavily involved with the project, which will create thousands of high-wage jobs during construction.

This solar
facility — which will ultimately provide enough electricity to power
100,000 households — joins many more that have been put in place, are
under construction, or are on the drawing boards in the Golden State.
All told, more than 10,000 projects are in the works in the state —
far eclipsing that of any of our state’s rivals. (For a complete list,
visit www.californiasolarstatistics.ca.gov).

California also is a leader in the manufacture of solar panels. For example, Sunpower, recently announced it will build its first domestic plant to make solar panels in Milpitas, creating more than 100 jobs and joining other solar
manufacturers already located in California: Kyocera in San Diego,
SolarWorld in Camarillo, Heliodyne in Richmond, SunEarth in Fontana,
FAFCO in Chico and Solyndra in Fremont. New start-up companies, like
Stion in San Jose, are moving into production mode too. Throughout
California, hundreds of solar construction contractors are doing business installing solar equipment.

But there is a cloud on the horizon. Two Texas oil companies, Valero
and Tesoro, are mounting a drive to dismantle the catalyst for much of
these job-creating solar businesses. Any day now, their ballot measure to effectively kill AB 32 is expected to qualify for the November ballot.

If it passes, it could likely chill billions of dollars of investment in solar
facilities in California. That will put thousands of jobs at risk in
the Central Valley, Inland Empire, and throughout the state in areas
where the sun is being harnessed to provide clean power. It will
undermine California’s leadership in solar power, and threatens our energy security as well.

The California Solar Energy Industries Association is strongly opposed to the job-killing Dirty Energy Proposition (www.StopDirtyEnergyProp.com). CalSEIA’s 220 members are creating local jobs throughout California in clean, renewable energy.

These are in-state construction jobs up and down the career ladder —
from entry level workers to those with advanced technical skills.

California is home to the largest and smallest solar
companies because of the State’s leadership in recognizing that
reliance on fossil fuels is no longer acceptable. Thousands of
Californians, from San Diego to Redding are doing business in your

In addition, solar energy is helping homeowners and businesses lower their electricity and natural gas bills to zero or near
zero, which helps homeowners with their daily budget and makes California businesses more profitable.

That’s why we are opposed to the special interest ballot measure being
advanced by Texas oil companies. They don’t want the competition from
the clean energy industry. But we’re determined to show Californians
that we no longer can afford an addition to oil, as the Gulf oil spill
is reminding us daily. We are hopeful voters will agree.