Colorado hardly has the same kind of reputation for solar power as sunny southern California, or Arizona with its vast deserts. However, a report from the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation shows the growth of Colorado solar installers has far outpaced most of the nation.

Like many other states, Colorado has experie nced difficult economic times in recent years. However, the renewable energy sector grew to 19,000 workers last year and was the only industry to add jobs in the state. Between 2005 and 2010, the sector grew by 32.7 percent, which was more than triple the national rate of 10 percent.

"Colorado ranks fourth nationally in the total number of clean-energy jobs and we're still growing and adding jobs," said Tom Clark, Metro Denver EDC executive vice president.

The state has benefited greatly from a strong research presence, hosting the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado. Ecotech Institute, a school dedicated to renewable energy, also opened in Aurora, Colorado, last year and already boasts 230 students in wind and solar power programs.

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