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Solar Jobs Shed Economic Light On Nevada


Nevada is leading the nation in solar industry job growth. A new report from a nonprofit called the Solar Foundation says Nevada has the most solar jobs per-capita nationwide.

Just last year, the state added 3,500 jobs in that field, and a lot of those employees work for SolarCity in Southern Nevada. They've hired a thousand new workers since last spring.

"We're the largest rooftop solar provider in the country," explains Jonathan Bass with the company. "We provide one out of every three new solar systems in the United States."

 The company is launching residential service in Reno Tuesday and will open an operations center in the area this spring. Initially, this new Northern operation will bring on about 30 employees, but Bass says that number should go up as sales grow.

"Typically, you see solar growth where customers can pay less for solar electricity than they pay for utility power," he explains. "That's possible in Nevada. There's not a lot of shade, so there are a lot of very sunny roofs that face south,west, or east, so solar really pencils out well for the customer. That's the reason you're seeing so much growth."

Along with Nevada, other states adding a lot of solar jobs include California, Massachusetts, and Arizona.

Michelle Billman is a former news director at KUNR Public Radio.
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