Installers secure solar panels to a rooftop in Florida, the state with the greatest solar jobs gain in 2018. Illinois was No. 2 Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images In the Illinois solar industry, the new faces often outnumber the familiar ones. Take StraightUp Solar, where more than half of the 67 employees have been hired since the beginning of 2018 as the company has grown to meet surging demand tied to a new state energy law . They come from community colleges, construction and other building trades, eager to be part of a growing industry, said Shannon Fulton, vice president of development for the company, which has offices in Bloomington, Illinois, and St. Louis. "The job creation aspect is really tremendous." Illinois stands out in the 2018 edition of the National Solar Jobs Census , with gains that were second only to Florida in a year when the country went in the opposite direction. Nationwide, the U.S. saw a decrease in solar jobs for the second year in a row, ending with just over 242,300 solar jobs, down 3.2 percent from the prior year. Inside the future of energy. The report, released Tuesday, shows broad gains across the Midwest in […]

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