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The Associated Press May 26, 2010, 3:18PM ET

Report: NC solar power could yield 28,000 jobs

An environmental group says North Carolina could generate at least 28,000 jobs in the solar energy field if it shifts electricity production more from traditional sources to solar energy in the next 20 years.

The research arm of Environment North Carolina released a report on Wednesday and held a news conference outside the Legislative Building. The report based findings on raising the percentage of power that comes from solar sources to 14 percent of the state's electricity consumption by 2030. Current law requires less than 1 percent of electric power to originate from the sun by 2018.

Report co-author Elizabeth Ouzts said lawmakers could help the state encourage solar power by approving a tax break to those who build plants for renewable energy manufacturing.

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