In this file photo dated Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015, an array of solar panels absorb the power of the sun, in northwestern China's Ningxia Hui autonomous region. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)
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President Donald Trump's administration has vowed to revive the coal industry, challenged climate-change science and blasted renewable energy as expensive and dependent on government subsidies.And yet the solar power industry is booming across Trump country, fueled by falling development costs and those same subsidies, which many Republicans in Congress continue to support.Data provided to Reuters by GTM Research, a clean energy market information firm, shows that eight of the 10 fastest-growing U.S. solar markets between the second quarters of 2016 and 2017 were Western, Midwestern or Southern states that voted for Trump, with Alabama and Mississippi topping the list. Industry players hope solar growth in states that form Trump's political base will influence how he decides later this yar in a trade case they fear could lead to tariffs on solar panels imported to the U.S.Solar and wind energy firms have become important constituents in some Republican-led states because they employ about 300,000 people nationwide -- six times the number working in the coal industry, according to industry and government data.When Reuters surveyed 32 utilities with operations in politically conservative states earlier this year, they overwhelmingly rejected making new investments in coal-fired power despite Trump's pro-coal agenda -- citing falling costs of renewable energy as a factor.
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