North Carolina jobs in the solar energy industry grew 20 percent in 2016, a nonprofit research group reported in an annual census Tuesday, ranking the state eighth in the nation.
The state gained 1,162 jobs last year, growing the total to 7,112 the Solar Foundation said in its 2016 census. North Carolina ranks second-highest in the nation for installed solar capacity.
Nationwide, solar industry employment increased by over 51,000 jobs, for a total of 260,077 U.S. solar workers, the foundation said. The solar workforce grew by 25 percent compared to 2015, the largest annual growth rate since the first census was released in 2010.
The foundation defines solar workers as those who spend at least half their time on solar-related work.
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The North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association reported last month that renewable energy and energy efficiency businesses, including solar, have created the equivalent of 34,000 full-time jobs in the state.