Arizona's renewable energy industry worth $2B

Arizona's solar industry boasts 16,000 jobs.

Arizona's solar industry boasts 16,000 jobs.

Solar industry job figures have always been tough to find, but a new study released Tuesday by Elliott D. Pollack and Co. pegs the state’s nascent industry as providing about $2 billion to the economy and touching about 16,000 jobs.

The study, to be discussed at the Renewable Economic Summit and Conference developed by the Pinal Partnership and Arizona Forward, found the industry has two segments: the operating companies, such as manufacturers and installers; and the construction side.

Getting a feel for how many jobs are in the sector is difficult because the construction jobs tend to wax and wane as new projects are built, said Rick Merritt, president of Pollack and Co..

“From year to year, the job numbers will probably go up and down, but over the long term there will be a basic number of jobs in the industry,” he said.

The job numbers and economic impact start with a study done last year by the Washington-based Solar Energy Industries Association, as well as one under way at Arizona State University. Using those figures, operating solar companies — those would be manufacturers and installers — have 5,265 workers with $237 million in annual wages and $585 million in economic output.

Read more in the Phoenix Business Journal.

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