According to a new report from research and advocacy group Solar Foundation, the state of California employs one-third of the nation's solar power workers. The numbers are also rapidly rising: In 2013, just over 47,000 Californians worked for the solar power industry, an 8 percent increase from the 44,000 in 2012. These figures dwarf every other state in the country, with the second-highest rate of solar workers living in Arizona, with just under 8,600. What is interesting about Arizona's numbers is it is the only state – of the top ten listed – where the employment numbers fell.
Across the United States, the solar power industry is growing fast, with over 142,000 people employed. It has seen an annual growth of nearly 20 percent each year, with California remaining the undisputed champion of this business.
California has been an advocate of this clean energy for over a decade, with the state making a massive push to get both residential and commercial properties to make the switch. The state government has offered certain rebates and tax breaks to residents who power their homes with solar energy while forcing the state's utilities to purchase greater amounts of renewable power. Twenty-two percent of California's solar jobs is made up of manufacturing companies, which has boosted the state economy in a time of recession.
"The fact that California is a third of these numbers (nationwide) really reflects the important role California has played and the connection between policy, markets and jobs," Arno Harris, CEO of Recurrent Energy, said in a public statement.
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