>> Solar energy production in the U.S. is seeing a surprising move away from Democratic hubs like California, to red states like Alabama and Mississippi, places that have long depended on fossil fuel energy. Reuters reporter Nichola Groom.>> The shift towards seeing more growth of solar in Republican led states is interesting right now because it comes at a time when the US has a Republican president, Donald Trump, who has expressed skepticism about renewable energy, including solar.
And that sort of flies in the face of some of his Republican colleagues in Congress who have voted in favor of tax credits for solar and who have seen a lot of job growth in their states because of the solar power industry.>> On the campaign trail boosting the coal industry was one of Trump's rallying calls.
>> Coal, clean coal, clean coal, we're bringing it back bigly, bigly.>> But data showing eight of the ten fastest growing U.S. solar markets between 2016 and 2017 were states that voted for Trump. Texas, for instance, is expected to be the second biggest state for solar growth over the next five years.
And what's driving this change towards solar, not political or climate considerations, but purely economic reasons.>> Solar does receives support from both Democrats and Republicans in Washington. At the end of 2015 Congress extended a very lucrative 30% tax credit on solar projects, and that was really because of bipartisan support.
>> The wind and solar industries employ over 300,000 people in the U.S., five times more than the coal sector, making them an important constituency for lawmakers on both sides of the political divide. Companies that are benefiting from this trend include Inovateus Solar, which says 80% of its current projects are based either in its home state Indiana or in neighboring Michigan, when the company opened its doors in 2008 that figure was just 10%.
Vermont based groSolar is also making money in the Midwest, calling the region its number one priority for development.