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A new report from Duke UniversityThe Solar Economy: Widespread Benefits for North Carolina, found that public policies such as North Carolina’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard and Investment Tax Credit have made North Carolina first in the south and fourth in the nation for installed solar investment, creating jobs and boosting the economy across the state. Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, applauded the study’s findings.

“Duke’s findings are consistent with our experience across the United States: Smart, forward-looking solar policies can be a huge boon to local economies, while decreasing our dependence on fossil fuels,” Resch said. “Today, there are 5,600 people working across the value chain in North Carolina, a more than 40 percent increase from a year ago. But, as the report notes, this incredible growth is at risk unless policy makers continue to support North Carolina’s ability to attract companies in the solar industry, create jobs and promote economic development.”

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The 722 megawatts (MW) of solar energy currently installed in North Carolina ranks the state 4th in the country in installed solar capacity and is enough to power 79,000 homes. In 2013, $787 million was invested in North Carolina to install solar for home, business and utility use. This represents a 156 percent increase over the previous year, and when all the numbers are in for 2014, investment is expected to have grown again.

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