Which States Produce the Most Solar Energy?


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Within the first few months of his administration, one in all President Joe Biden’s prime coverage priorities has been addressing the specter of local weather change — whereas additionally bettering infrastructure and creating jobs to generate financial progress.

Biden has acknowledged a aim of reaching 100% pollution-free electrical energy by 2035, which suggests dramatically scaling up renewable vitality manufacturing within the US. To that finish, Biden’s proposed American Jobs Plan would come with intensive tax credit, grants, and different investments in clear vitality.

One of many potential beneficiaries of this focus is the solar energy business, which is seeing speedy progress as the prices related to photo voltaic decline. For a few years, solar energy was too costly to be adopted at scale as a significant supply of vitality manufacturing, however this has modified lately.

One of many largest causes for the decline in prices has been technological innovation. Photo voltaic know-how has grow to be extra dependable and extra environment friendly over time, which lowers the price of producing vitality.

As these prices lower, adoption turns into extra frequent, which permits photo voltaic cell producers to realize economies of scale and decrease costs even additional.

Authorities help has additionally been a significant factor. Billions in federal funding for renewables throughout the Nice Recession helped spur the technological advances seen within the final decade, and the federal authorities — together with many states and localities — has lengthy provided tax breaks and different incentives to subsidize family photo voltaic adoption.

These components reached an inflection level within the mid-2000s, and photo voltaic manufacturing within the US has been rising exponentially ever since.

In 2006, photo voltaic generated round 507,000 megawatt-hours of vitality and represented .01% of US vitality generated by the electrical energy business. By 2019, photo voltaic thermal and photovoltaic accounted for 71,936,822 megawatt-hours — round 140 instances greater than in 2006 — to signify 1.74% of the entire.

The use of solar power continues to grow rapidly in the US

Photo voltaic remains to be a comparatively small a part of the US’s total vitality combine however will grow to be an more and more important supply as photo voltaic manufacturing continues to speed up — significantly if the Biden Administration’s local weather insurance policies and clear vitality investments come to go.

For now, nonetheless, renewables total (17.7% of complete electrical energy era) nonetheless lag behind pure gasoline (38.4%), coal (23.4%), and nuclear (19.6%). Inside the renewable class, photo voltaic (9.9% of renewable manufacturing) trails wind (40.6%) and hydroelectric (39.5%).

Renewables still lag behind natural gas, coal, and nuclear

Regardless of its small however rising position in total US vitality manufacturing, photo voltaic is a significant a part of the vitality combine in various states. The undisputed chief of those states is California, which leads all others each by complete photo voltaic vitality manufacturing and the share of electrical energy derived from photo voltaic.

California’s complete photo voltaic vitality manufacturing is almost 4 instances that of the runner-up state, North Carolina. Most of the market components which have made photo voltaic extra common nationwide maintain in California, too, however the Golden State additionally has geographic options and a political local weather which have made it a photo voltaic chief.


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California leads the US in solar energy production

By way of geography, California is without doubt one of the US states with the very best ranges of insolation (publicity to the solar). Insolation is an element for a lot of different main states for photo voltaic manufacturing, together with Solar Belt places like Texas, southwestern states Nevada and Arizona, and Southeastern states North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

Politically, California’s policymakers have created an surroundings that every one however ensures heavy reliance on photo voltaic vitality. As an example, California has one of the crucial bold renewable portfolio requirements of any US state, with a aim of producing 60% of vitality from renewables by 2030 and 100% of vitality from renewables by 2045.

Moreover, in 2020, the state started requiring most new houses to incorporate rooftop photo voltaic panels.

To search out the states the place photo voltaic manufacturing is highest, researchers at Commodity.com used information from the US Power Info Administration’s Electrical energy Energy Knowledge. States have been ranked by annual photo voltaic manufacturing for electrical energy (in megawatt-hours) for 2019.

The researchers additionally calculated the year-over-year change in complete photo voltaic vitality manufacturing from 2018–2019, in addition to what share of complete vitality manufacturing and renewable vitality manufacturing photo voltaic accounts for.

Listed here are the states producing essentially the most photo voltaic vitality.

States Producing the Most Photo voltaic Power

Mountain Solar Farm

15. South Carolina

  • Annual photo voltaic vitality manufacturing (megawatthours): 858,546
  • Change in photo voltaic vitality manufacturing (YoY): +68.2%
  • Photo voltaic share of complete vitality manufacturing: 0.9%
  • Photo voltaic share of complete renewable vitality manufacturing: 14.3%

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Virginia Solar Field

14. Virginia

  • Annual photo voltaic vitality manufacturing (megawatthours): 949,111
  • Change in photo voltaic vitality manufacturing (YoY): +24.4%
  • Photo voltaic share of complete vitality manufacturing: 1.0%
  • Photo voltaic share of complete renewable vitality manufacturing: 15.3%
Solar Panels in Williamstown Massachusetts

13. Massachusetts

  • Annual photo voltaic vitality manufacturing (megawatthours): 1,163,776
  • Change in photo voltaic vitality manufacturing (YoY): +19.0%
  • Photo voltaic share of complete vitality manufacturing: 5.4%
  • Photo voltaic share of complete renewable vitality manufacturing: 34.7%
Solar Panels in New Jersey

12. New Jersey

  • Annual photo voltaic vitality manufacturing (megawatthours): 1,164,721
  • Change in photo voltaic vitality manufacturing (YoY): +17.6%
  • Photo voltaic share of complete vitality manufacturing: 1.6%
  • Photo voltaic share of complete renewable vitality manufacturing: 57.9%
Denver Colorado skyline with solar panels

11. Colorado

  • Annual photo voltaic vitality manufacturing (megawatthours): 1,218,220
  • Change in photo voltaic vitality manufacturing (YoY): +14.7%
  • Photo voltaic share of complete vitality manufacturing: 2.2%
  • Photo voltaic share of complete renewable vitality manufacturing: 8.7%
solar panels mounted on exterior wall of parking garage in saint paul minnesota

10. Minnesota

  • Annual photo voltaic vitality manufacturing (megawatthours): 1,248,833
  • Change in photo voltaic vitality manufacturing (YoY): +19.8%
  • Photo voltaic share of complete vitality manufacturing: 2.1%
  • Photo voltaic share of complete renewable vitality manufacturing: 8.6%
Solar panels on field against sky

9. New Mexico

  • Annual photo voltaic vitality manufacturing (megawatthours): 1,365,900
  • Change in photo voltaic vitality manufacturing (YoY): +1.3%
  • Photo voltaic share of complete vitality manufacturing: 3.9%
  • Photo voltaic share of complete renewable vitality manufacturing: 16.1%
Appling, GA: Field of rows of solar panels

8. Georgia

  • Annual photo voltaic vitality manufacturing (megawatthours): 2,160,770
  • Change in photo voltaic vitality manufacturing (YoY): +8.3%
  • Photo voltaic share of complete vitality manufacturing: 1.7%
  • Photo voltaic share of complete renewable vitality manufacturing: 18.8%
Bryce Canyon National Park at Utah

7. Utah

  • Annual photo voltaic vitality manufacturing (megawatthours): 2,186,424
  • Change in photo voltaic vitality manufacturing (YoY):  -1.7%
  • Photo voltaic share of complete vitality manufacturing: 5.6%
  • Photo voltaic share of complete renewable vitality manufacturing: 51.3%
Solar Panels  Florida

6. Florida

  • Annual photo voltaic vitality manufacturing (megawatthours): 3,901,445
  • Change in photo voltaic vitality manufacturing (YoY): +61.7%
  • Photo voltaic share of complete vitality manufacturing: 1.6%
  • Photo voltaic share of complete renewable vitality manufacturing: 45.6%
Texas Solar Farm

5. Texas

  • Annual photo voltaic vitality manufacturing (megawatthours): 4,365,125
  • Change in photo voltaic vitality manufacturing (YoY): +36.2%
  • Photo voltaic share of complete vitality manufacturing: 0.9%
  • Photo voltaic share of complete renewable vitality manufacturing: 4.8%

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Nevada Solar One at Boulder City

4. Nevada

  • Annual photo voltaic vitality manufacturing (megawatthours): 4,810,511
  • Change in photo voltaic vitality manufacturing (YoY): +1.9%
  • Photo voltaic share of complete vitality manufacturing: 12.1%
  • Photo voltaic share of complete renewable vitality manufacturing: 42.4%
Photovoltaic arrays Arizona

3. Arizona

  • Annual photo voltaic vitality manufacturing (megawatthours): 5,278,019
  • Change in photo voltaic vitality manufacturing (YoY): +2.7%
  • Photo voltaic share of complete vitality manufacturing: 4.6%
  • Photo voltaic share of complete renewable vitality manufacturing: 43.0%
North Carolina Solar

2. North Carolina

  • Annual photo voltaic vitality manufacturing (megawatthours): 7,451,338
  • Change in photo voltaic vitality manufacturing (YoY): +21.9%
  • Photo voltaic share of complete vitality manufacturing: 5.7%
  • Photo voltaic share of complete renewable vitality manufacturing: 44.6%
Photovoltaic solar panels and wind turbines, San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm, Palm Springs, California

1. California

  • Annual photo voltaic vitality manufacturing (megawatthours): 28,331,513
  • Change in photo voltaic vitality manufacturing (YoY): +5.0%
  • Photo voltaic share of complete vitality manufacturing: 14.0%
  • Photo voltaic share of complete renewable vitality manufacturing: 29.1%

Detailed Findings and Methodology

The info used on this evaluation is from the US Power Info Administration’s Electrical energy Energy Knowledge.

To find out the states producing essentially the most photo voltaic vitality, researchers ranked states by their annual photo voltaic vitality manufacturing for the electrical energy business, measured in megawatt-hours, for the 12 months 2019.

The researchers additionally calculated the year-over-year change in complete photo voltaic vitality manufacturing from 2018–2019, in addition to what share of complete vitality manufacturing and renewable vitality manufacturing photo voltaic accounts for.