Jul 24, 2020

5 States Leading the Way in Solar Energy (And What We Can Learn from Them)

Every year we continue to see a rise in the solar energy industry, but how exactly are states leading the way in solar energy? From employment rates to energy savings and more, the solar industry continues to boom across the country. State and local governments combined with private sector companies are making it easier than ever for consumers to incorporate solar into their homes. Now with 2,475,609 solar energy systems installed nationwide with 250,000 Americans working in solar, what can we learn from them? Read on to find out. 

Solar Energy in California

How they’re leading the way: It is almost unfair how perfectly positioned California is for solar energy consumption. California’s geographical location, combined with its drive to fight climate change, has made California the number one state leading the way in solar energy. The Golden State reported 27,897.04 MW of installed solar in their Q1 report for 2020, with nearly four out of every ten U.S. solar jobs being in California. It should also be noted that 20.70% of the state’s electricity comes from solar power. 

What can we learn from them: A big takeaway from the state’s success with solar energy is that $57 billion was invested in the state for solar purposes, which undoubtedly helped them attain such high goals. California also offers enticing incentives for those looking to install solar panels, such as a 26% tax credit for the year of 2020, and giving bill credits for extra solar power produced.

North Carolina Solar Energy

How they’re leading the way: Coming in second is North Carolina, which may come as a surprise to many. They reported an $8,947.99 million total state investment for solar and enough solar installed to power 755,916 homes, with 5.49% of the state’s electricity comes from solar power alone. 

What can we learn from them: Through strong state policy and regulatory support, with the addition of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS), North Carolina quickly became one of the top leaders in solar energy, rising impressively from 6th place in 2019 to 2nd place in 2020. 

Arizona’s Solar Energy

How they’re leading the way: Arizona continues to hold its place in the top 5 rankings in solar, rising from 4th place in solar power in 2019 to 3rd place in 2020. Along with California, Arizona receives an ample amount of sunlight every day, which helps contribute to its success in being a leader in solar energy. Although Arizona’s solar is doing well geographically, and enough solar installed to power 787,133 homes, they have more potential to up their solar power game. 

What can we learn from them: Unfortunately, public debates regarding the benefits of solar, in addition to the imposition of a net metering charge in 2014 and the elimination of incentives, have collectively caused the arid state to have a less than smooth market experience. Educating policymakers and constituents on the benefits of solar, and encouraging transparent policies, can help stabilize the solar market and help it continue to grow. 

Solar Energy in Florida

How they’re leading the way: Florida has its nickname as the Sunshine State for a reason. Ranking 4th, Florida has 569,563 homes that are powered by solar, with prices falling 40% over the last 5 years, making it more affordable for those looking to get into using solar energy. 

What can we learn from them: Florida’s solar policies aren’t the best that they could be, which most likely played a role in why Florida fell down from 3rd place in 2019.  With no renewable portfolio standard, and not allowing power purchase agreements, the state lags in policies that would allow them to drive investments and better compete with other leading states. Not all is bad though, as Florida is projected to install 8,146 MW of solar over the next 5 years.  

Texas Solar Energy

How they’re leading the way: Coming in 5th place following the end of Q1 in 2020, Texas has installed enough solar power systems to power 530,999 homes. Texas’ solar power industry has created 10,261 jobs, with 70,587 solar installations

What can we learn from them: Similar to Florida, Texas has unfortunately dropped in solar rankings as well, falling from 2nd place in 2019 to 5th place in 2020. Texas has enough open space to rival California for the nation’s largest solar-energy potential, but policymakers have been slow to make changes for solar, such as providing incentives and rebates. However, with a projected growth of 14,466 MW over the next 5 years, Texas will hopefully move up in the rankings soon enough. 

We’re excited to see which states will start to produce more incentives for switching to solar power, as well as see which policies will be created surrounding state solar initiatives. Let us know if your state was ranked as one of the top five states leading the way in solar energy!

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