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There are now close to 143,000 jobs in the solar industry in the U.S., and the sector grew almost 20 percent last year, according to a new report from The Solar Foundation. That amount of growth is ten times the national employment growth rate average (1.9 percent) over the same period.
The solar industry added close to 24,000 solar jobs last year, and 90 percent of those jobs were new jobs. Two thirds of those jobs were in the installation sector, and the jobs were distributed across the U.S., many of them in states with strong solar incentives.
Solar financier and installer SolarCity added 2,000 jobs last year on its own and now employs 4,500 workers. The company went public at the end of 2012, and is now trading many times its IPO price. SunPower also added hundreds of jobs last year.
Growth in the solar industry in the U.S. in 2014 is also expected to be strong, though slightly slower than in 2013, due to growing efficiencies for installation solar panels. The Solar Foundation is predicting around 16 percent growth for solar jobs this year.