10 Best States for Solar Power

Renewable energy continues to become more popular across the United States, with wind power production nearly tripling since 2011 and solar power production multiplying by 23 times in the same time period.

The numerous benefits of solar power include versatility, greater control over energy consumption, and the added perk of helping the environment. Though solar power can be costly to install, its prices continue to fall, and it earns its cost back through later savings.

Because solar power is growing so rapidly in the U.S., nearly any location in the country would be great for starting your own journey with solar power. However, if you would like to live in one of the states doing the most to promote solar power use, check out the lists below!

Top 10 States for Solar Power Supply in 2021

In 2021, 4% of all United States electricity came from solar energy. The 10 states that have generated the most solar power through Q3 2021 are:

  1. California: 32,209 MW
  2. Texas: 12,309 MW
  3. Florida: 7,765 MW
  4. North Carolina: 7,460 MW
  5. Arizona: 5,549 MW
  6. Nevada: 4,245 MW
  7. New Jersey: 3,827 MW
  8. Massachusetts: 3,486 MW
  9. Virginia: 3,444 MW
  10. Georgia: 3,260 MW

California, ahead at almost triple the amount of available solar power of the state in second place, is able to power 9,591,857 homes with its current solar capacity. However, even the lowest state on the list, Georgia, is able to power 415,941 homes.

Top 10 States for Solar Power Installations in 2021

Just because a state currently has the greatest solar capabilities, however, does not mean that state is growing the fastest. Here are the 10 states that have added the most solar capabilities throughout 2021:

  1. Texas
  2. California
  3. Florida
  4. Virginia
  5. Indiana
  6. Illinois
  7. Colorado
  8. North Carolina
  9. New York
  10. Nevada

Texas is furthest in the lead with the installation of 4,523 MW. The next closest is California, which installed 1,899 MW. If you want to relocate to a state growing its solar capabilities the fastest, Texas is your best choice. However, all the states on this list are growing quickly compared to 10 years ago.

How States Promote Solar Power Growth

Not every state could make the top 10 list, and several states appeared on both lists. That means most states in the U.S. have the opportunity to greatly improve their solar capabilities. Indeed, even the states currently in the lead still have room to improve. For example, solar power only makes up about 24% of California’s electricity production.

Moreover, states across the country are setting incentives and benefits for solar installation. That encourages businesses and citizens to embrace solar energy. Here are some of the best ways states are promoting solar power:

  • Setting ambitious goals: One of the best ways states can promote solar power is to present ambitious goals for clean energy, forcing them to pursue these goals. Across the U.S., at least 38 states have implemented a clean energy goal, with nine states aiming to reach 100% clean energy by 2050. Among these are California, New York, and Virginia.

  • Using solar for government buildings: Leading by example, many states are trying to promote using solar energy by implementing it as the power source for their own government buildings. For example, Pennsylvania’s governor plans to generate 50% of the state’s government building electricity through solar.

  • Providing tax incentives: One of the best ways to encourage solar use is by reducing the cost, which is why so many state governments are implementing tax incentives for those who use solar energy. In Tennessee, solar panel systems are exempt from sales tax, and for homes using solar energy, it offers a property tax assessment with a maximum return of 12.5% of the solar installation cost.

Solar power is continuing to grow – not just in Texas and California, but in every state across the country. Even the states that currently have the least growth, like Alabama, North and South Dakota, and Tennessee, are implementing new incentives and goals to boost their clean energy contributions.

The United States still has a long way to go before the country itself reaches 100% clean energy, but every state that achieves its own goals pulls the entire country closer and closer to that target.

Bio:

Jane is the Editor-in-Chief of Environment.co and an environmental writer covering green technology, sustainability and environmental news.