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PHOENIX -- Arizona continues to be one of the top states leading the way when it comes to the solar power industry, a census said.

Arizona has about 8,500 people in the solar field, according to a job census from the Solar Foundation. That was enough for second in the nation, trailing only California.

However, the number solar jobs in the state declined from last year.

"The jobs numbers did decline from last year by about 1,200 jobs and part of that is due to some reduced work in the commercial solar industry," said Bret Fanshaw with Environment Arizona, adding that the elimination of solar incentives also hurt job numbers.

Despite the drop in jobs, Fanshaw still believes Arizona is in a good spot.

"The bottom line really is that the sky is the limit for solar energy in Arizona," he said. "We can produce pollution-free power that has no fuel costs.

"But we also need to look at and keep the good policies that we have to continue to foster growth."

Fanshaw said less than 2 percent of Arizona's power comes from solar energy.

Martha Maurer, News Editor

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