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Solar Jobs Up Nationwide, With Some Mountain West States Heating Up

An image of a man wiping down a large array of solar panels.
U.S. Department of Energy

Solar jobs are up across the U.S., after two consecutive years of declines. But that growth is mixed in our region.

According to the latest report from the nonprofit solar energy advocate, The Solar Foundation, more than 5,600 solar jobs were added last year.

Ed Gilliland is the senior director of programs for the organization. He said employment is going up, because the cost of building solar projects are going down — even with tariffs on imported materials.

“The global markets for these materials, the prices are down globally. And they’re down enough to really offset the impact of the tariffs,” Gilliland said. “So prices are still lower now than they were before the tariffs.”

Gilliland said more large scale utility projects are coming online, especially as states look to adopt more aggressive renewable energy targets.

“The utility-scale solar market was much more active in 2019, requiring additional solar workers to begin or complete these projects,” the report states.

In our region, the results of the analysis were mixed. For example, Nevada has the most per capita solar jobs in the country. Wyoming ranked 47th.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUER in Salt Lake City, KUNR in Nevada, the O’Connor Center For the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

Noah Glick is a former content director and host at KUNR Public Radio.
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