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Cleaning up: Survey ranks Arizona high for clean energy jobs

In this July 28, 2015, photo, electrician Adam Hall install solar panels on a roof for Arizona Public Service company in Goodyear, Ariz. Traditional power companies are getting into small-scale solar energy and competing for space. The emerging competition comes as utilities and smaller solar installers fight over the future of the U.S. energy system. (AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — A survey from a community of business leaders released Thursday said Arizona is one of the best states in the nation for jobs in clean energy.

“Clean energy jobs are everything from solar installers on rooftops in residential neighborhoods, to companies in the Midwest who are hiring to manufacture wind turbine blades, to construction workers who are working to make your schools and your communities more energy efficient,” Environmental Entrepreneurs spokesman Jeff Benzak said.

Benzak said Arizona is picking up steam in the clean energy sector.

“Arizona ranked No. 5 in the country in the third quarter of 2015 in clean energy jobs,” he said, adding Arizona wasn’t even in the top 10 a few months ago.

Benzak said the state’s ranking changed thanks to several projects that will produce more clean energy employment.

“The biggest is the Mesquite 3 Solar Project about 60 miles west of Phoenix,” he said. “It’s a partnership between the Navy and the private sector, and is expected to create about 600 construction jobs.”

Another project that’s on the community’s radar is a little smaller and scheduled to be completed next year.

“It’s a 20-megawatt solar array in southeastern Arizona that’s expected to create about 125 jobs,” Benzak said. “This array will power something along the lines of 4,500 homes.”

Utah ranked first on the list for clean jobs, followed by California, Colorado and Texas.

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