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Mass. the second-biggest employer for solar power

Massachusetts has surpassed Arizona and New Jersey to become the nation’s second-biggest employer in the solar power industry.

According to a report from the Solar Foundation, which studies and promotes the solar industry, 9,400 people had jobs making, selling, and installing solar power systems in Massachusetts last year. The industry added 3,000 jobs from November 2013 to November 2014, the group said.

“The clean energy economy in Massachusetts is thriving, spurred by the Commonwealth’s innovative spirit, a diverse clean technology industry, strong public-private partnerships, and world class academic institutions,” said Governor Charlie Baker in a statement.

Arizona, the third-ranked state, had 9,200 solar jobs, according to the group’s survey of 7,600 businesses. The leader by a mile was California, where the solar power industry employs over 54,000 people. Part of that has to do with the weather. Solar panels in Massachusetts generate about half as much electricity as they do in California and Arizona, which have more sunny days.

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Over 300 megawatts of solar power capacity was installed in Massachusetts last year, bringing the cumulative total to 752 megawatts, according to the Department of Energy Resources. In 2013, Governor Deval Patrick set a goal of installing 1,600 megawatts of solar power capacity in Massachusetts by 2020.


Jack Newsham can be reached at jack.newsham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TheNewsHam.