Bank of America: $12.6B in environmental investments created 40,000 jobs

Bank of America: $12.6B in environmental investments created 40,000 jobs

The North Star Solar Project, financed in part by Bank of America.

The $12.6 billion Bank of America’s various business units invested from 2013 to last year supported almost 40,000 jobs, contributed almost $15 billion to GDP and generated close to $30 billion in total economic output, according to a report from the financial services giant.

Those investments comprise just a small part of what Bank of America says will be a long-term total of $125 billion total in what it describes as an “environmental business commitment.”

The majority of these jobs, or more than 50 percent in total, are within the broader energy efficiency industry, and include employment linked to building retrofits or more efficient lighting installations. More than 40 percent of these newly-created jobs lie within the clean energy sector, including wind power, solar and other renewable power technologies. 

The rest of the jobs, approximately 6 percent, are within the nascent electric vehicles industry.

Bank of America’s statistics could catch the eye of local leaders who often seek economic development by tactics such as building big box stores or distribution centers – and count the resulting low-wage, part-time employment as “jobs.” 

The bank claims its investments have led to jobs in the clean energy sector that on average pay more than  $80,000 a year. Jobs in the energy efficiency sector on average pay significantly less, or just more than $57,000 a year – the average compensation in the U.S. hovers around $57,700 annually.

These projects and resulting jobs also have their environmental benefits, of course. Bank of America claims that its recent investments have helped prevent almost 2.4 million metric tons of emissions last year – the equivalent of removing more than 500,000 cars off the road for one year.

One of the projects Bank of America highlights is in Minnesota. The bank recently partnered with D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments (DESRI), a 30-year-old global investment and technology development firm with more than $42 billion in capital investments. The outcome was a $110 million tax equity investment that helped financed North Star Solar Project, a 100-megawatt utility-scale solar power installation. 

Touted as the largest solar power project in the Midwest, its 400,000 photovoltaic modules generate enough clean power to electrify approximately 20,000 homes annually. 

Local news reports said during its construction, the project kept 300 construction workers employed. Since its launch this year, a division of DESRI, which has more than 1,300 employees, will manage the day-to-day operation of the installation.

Topics: Architectural Firms, Associations / Organizations, Building Owners and Managers, Energy Saving Products, Energy Storage - Solar Energy Storage, Financial Institutions, Solar Energy & Solar Power, Technology, Wind Power

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