he solar market in the US has seen an unprecedented surge in capacity during the last decade. Today solar power accounts for 4% of the country’s total electricity generation, which marks a fourfold increase since 2010. Solar also makes up almost half of all new electricity-generating capacity added in the US annually.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) report, if the current laws and regulations are in place, solar will generate 14% of the country’s electricity in 2035 and 20% in 2050. Today the US is the second-largest solar power producer, adopting it faster than any other county in the world.

However, some regions in the US have better exposure to sunlight than others, and thus more solar energy resources to meet the needs of the residents. This article lists the top 8 best states for solar.

Top places in the US for installing solar panels

8. New Jersey

New Jersey is one of the most solar friendly states in the US. The local government adopted an ambitious Renewable Portfolio Standard and encourages its residents to embrace green energy through a great net metering program and a broad range of tax exemptions.

As a result of these supportive measures, New Jersey now offers a payback period as short as 6.6 years, while the average installation cost stands at $2.74 per watt.

7. Georgia

With over 200 sunny days per year, Georgia’s solar potential is undoubted. The state boasts an installed PV capacity of over 3.2 MW, which is enough for powering over 400,000 homes. Today solar provides more than 3% of its electricity generation.

Unfortunately, Georgia is one of the few states that haven’t adopted new clean energy standards and haven’t approved clean energy goals. That is why it does not offer any tax exemptions, and its incentives are generally scarce. However, going solar in Georgia is still worth considering, as over 20 years a homeowner can save up to $21,000.

6. Nevada

The state of Nevada is one of the sunniest in the US after Arizona and New Mexico, with over seven peak sun hours per day in the summer. However, this isn’t the only reason why Nevada is a great place for solar: the state has some of the most advantageous incentives in the country. More than 600,000 Nevadans have already switched to solar power, which accounts for around 13% of the electricity produced in the state.

Nevada has set up a massive net metering program for homeowners, which makes the transition to solar much more economical. Net metering rules may vary depending on a utility company.

The average cost for PV panels in Nevada ranges from $2.09 to $2.83, and the electricity bill offset in the state can reach 112%.

5. Arizona

Arizona sees an average of 300 days of sunshine annually, which makes it a great state for solar. In some cities like Phoenix and Tucson, the proportion of sunny days per year reaches 80-90%. Arizona has become a hotspot for solar investments which amount to around $14.3. The Grand Canyon state currently produces about 6.5% of the US solar energy, and over 8% of its electricity comes from harvesting the sun's power.

Although state incentives for homeowners aren’t particularly generous, they can still receive a tax credit, which refunds 25% of the cost of a PV power system, within a $1,000 limit. The average payback period is 6.7 years, and the cost stands at about $2.4 per watt.

4. Florida

Florida has considerable potential for harvesting solar with an average of 238 sunny days per year. Today less than 5% of Florida’s electricity comes from solar, however, this is about to change as its investments in the industry are rising steadily, and now amount to $12.3 billion.

Energy policies in Florida leave much to be desired, as the state doesn’t offer any solar rebates.

The average cost of a solar PV system in Florida is around $2.58 per watt, and it will pay for itself in 10.67 years.

3. North Carolina

North Carolina’s solar industry is one of the fastest growing in the country, it supplies around 7% of the electricity the state generates today. North Carolina offers a robust net metering program, substantial rebates, and tax incentives, making solar a top choice for its residents.

The price of a PV installation in North Carolina ranges from $2.27 to $3.07. Homeowners can break even with their solar investment in about 11 years and offset 74–100% of their electricity costs.

2. Texas

Texas generates the largest share of US electricity at about 11.3%, and yet only a small portion of its energy comes from solar. However, it is set on the energy transition and launches more solar energy projects than any other state.

In Texas, there are no local rebate programs or state tax credits for installing PV systems. The good news is that many local utility companies and municipalities provide incentives encouraging residents to opt for solar rooftops. A solar panel plan in Texas costs around $2.68 per watt on average, and a payback period is about 12.5 years.

1. California

California is the leading state to go green. Local authorities encourage migration to solar power for households and businesses, setting a target for 100% carbon-free electricity by 2045. California became the first US state to require builders to include PV installations and battery storage in new commercial structures and residential projects.

Today the state produces overwhelming 40,000 megawatts of solar energy, which accounts for more than 20% of its electricity generation. More than 1.3 million residential PV rooftops can be found all across California so far.

The Golden State has some of the most generous rebates available, enabling consumers to get as much as $0.95 per watt of installed capacity. Net metering is another incentive that encourages Californians to go solar, even though the debate is raging about whether it's fair.

Another beneficial state program for homeowners is DAC-SASH, which offers them up to $3 per watt to help offset the PV installation cost. As a result, California surpasses its competitor states with an average payback period of just 5.95 years.

Solar is efficient all over the US. Discover options for your region!

Most of the US states show good-to-excellent solar potential. But even the states with modest-to-moderate resources, such as Washington, New York, or Alaska can take advantage of shifting to solar. Besides, the technologies are developing by leaps and bounds and making this solution suitable even for areas with low amounts of sunlight. For example, researchers from Stanford University created solar cells that work in the dark and can be powered by rain.  

You should definitely explore the possibilities of turning to solar wherever you live. You may be surprised to find out how much solar power has to offer. It will help you not only offset your carbon footprint but also save large amounts of money on electricity bills.

Mar 22, 2023

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