Renewable energy jobs grow by 22% in N.C.

North Carolina has 22 percent more jobs in renewable energy and energy efficiency than last year, the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association said Thursday in an annual report.

The nonprofit group estimates that 12,500 full-time-equivalent jobs are at work in the sector, up from 10,250 in 2009. The estimates are derived from a survey of 1,161 companies.

The 546 companies that responded expect 20percent job growth over the next year, the survey found. But most are small, with five or fewer employees. The companies with the highest revenue growth had additional income other than from renewable energy or energy efficiency.

Manufacturing, such as by Charlotte solar panel maker Sencera, makes up about one-third of the estimated jobs. Research and development accounted for 24 percent.

Two-thirds of the firms said their products and services will be delivered within North Carolina. The association estimated the companies' combined revenues at $3.5 billion.

Among energy sectors, 59percent of the jobs were directed at energy efficiency and building sciences, 11 percent in solar, 10 percent in wind and 7percent in smart grid.

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