Solar panel on a red roof

Last year, Colorado gained 2,700 jobs in the clean energy industry, reaching a total of 62,400 before the COVID-19 pandemic, a new report from the economic and environmental advocacy group E2 has found.

“Coming into 2020, Colorado’s clean energy economy was looking forward to another record-breaking year with state clean energy employers projecting 5.4% job growth,” the report noted. However, with energy efficiency contractors shut out of homes and commercial buildings and manufacturing companies furloughing workers, the pandemic cost Colorado an estimated 6,000 jobs in the industry.

E2 reported that 22% of the clean energy workforce in the Denver-Aurora area became unemployed, through an examination of unemployment claims. Nearly 84% of the total clean energy jobs in Colorado were in the efficiency and renewable energy fields. Professional services and construction were the most prevalent types of occupation.

“Colorado’s clean energy economy makes up 2.3% of all statewide jobs, slightly higher than the national average (2.2%)—but below several neighboring states such as Wyoming (3.0%) and Utah (2.9%),” E2 wrote.

The report advocated for a federal stimulus bill similar to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed in the wake of the 2008 recession. Mike Kruger, the CEO and president of the Colorado Solar and Storage Association, which collaborated on the report, said his members wanted policies in place to support a recovery and return them to full employment.

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