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Solar Energy Coming To More Homes & Businesses, Brings Jobs

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Minnesota Commerce Department said solar energy is taking off in the state.

The department released the latest statistics of how solar power is being used in homes and businesses.

One of the many businesses using solar energy is Scheiderman's Furniture. The store installed solar panels on top of its roof as part of a program from the commerce department.

The program is called the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program.

It's helped businesses and homeowners invest in solar power, an industry that now employs nearly 4,000 people.

At a press conference Friday morning, department officials said the program shows how much solar energy has expanded in recent years. In fact, new data showed Minnesota added 203 megawatts of solar electric capacity in the first quarter of 2017 compared to 207 in all of last year.

"Solar jobs in Minnesota increased 44 percent in 2016, with nearly 4,000 Minnesotans now employed in the industry. Solar presents our state with a tremendous opportunity for growth, clean energy, sustainable energy and a lot of future jobs four our children and the generations to come," Commissioner Mike Rothman said.

The commissioner also said solar energy growth is thanks to state and federal clean energy policies that have helped promote technical advances and drive down costs.

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