The overall economy of North Carolina is being “boosted” significantly thanks to the state’s growing solar energy industry, according to a new report from Duke University.

To be more specific, the report — The Solar Economy: Widespread Benefits for North Carolina┬á— notes that the industry is driving job creation in manufacturing + construction, as well as supporting overall economic growth.

The driver behind much of this growth is, according to those behind the report (which you can find here), supportive state policies — such as the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard and the Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit.

The report makes reference to a recent economic impact assessment by RTI International which presented figures showing that for every $1 of Investment Tax Credit redeemed by businesses, the state and local governements of North Carolina were getting $1.93 back. Which makes a pretty good argument for the tax credit being effective policy. ­čÖé

The three main findings presented by the new report are: supportive policies are spurring growth in the solar industry; the rural portions of the state are benefitting greatly from this growth; and the solar industry is driving job growth and creation in the manufacturing & construction sectors.

As a result of this relatively recent growth, North Carolina’s solar industry is now home to more than 4,300 employees spread across more than 450 different companies — altogether representing more than $2 billion in direct investment into the southern state.

With supportive policies likely to continue, and large companies like Duke Energy becoming increasingly interested in solar, the state seems likely to continue to see good growth over the next couple of years.