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Hawaii added nearly 2,500 solar jobs in 2019, ranked 10th in growth, report says

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Hawaii was No. 10 in a list of “Top 10” states with solar jobs growth in 2019, according to the latest report released by The Solar Foundation, a national nonprofit based in Washington, D.C.

The 10th annual National Solar Jobs Census, released last week, found Hawaii had 2,484 solar jobs in 2019 — 364 more — or a 17.2% increase from 2,120 in 2018.

Florida led the nation for the number of jobs added, at 1,843, followed by Georgia, Utah, New York and Texas. The number of solar jobs increased in 31 states last year.

Hawaii ranked 5th for solar jobs per capita, and No. 28 for the number of solar jobs nationwide.

The findings are consistent with a recent report by Marco Mangelsdorf, president of Hilo-based ProVision Solar, who tracks rooftop solar permits in the state.

In 2019, the number of permits for solar electric systems went up 41.4% to 6,824 compared to 4,826 in 2018.

“The Hawaii Solarcoaster was back on-track in 2019 after two previous lackluster years,” said Mangelsdorf in an email.

Oahu performed best out of the four counties, with a 48% jump to 4,270 in 2019 compared to 2,875 in 2018, said Mangelsdorf. On Maui County, permits were up 62%, with 951 last year compared to 587 in 2018. On Kauai, permits were up 74%, with 638 last year compared to 267 in 2018.

Nationally, the United States in 2019 had 249,983 solar workers, a 2.3% increase from the number in 2018. Solar workers are defined in the report as those who spend 50% or more of their time on solar-related work. Nationwide, more than 5,600 jobs were added to the solar workforce from 2018 to 2019.

In the five-year period between 2014 and 2019, solar employment increased 44%, five times faster than job growth in the overall U.S. economy.

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