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Top Solar States vs Top Solar Countries (CleanTechnica Exclusive)

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Following our top solar states rankings and our top solar countries rankings, below are rankings that mix the two. The rankings are for total and new solar power capacity per capita as well as total and new solar power per GDP. I thin the results are very interesting….

If you missed these previous rankings, also be sure to check out:

As with the state and country rankings above, the state solar power capacity data came to us courtesy GTM Research and SEIA; the country solar power capacity data came from EPIA; the state population data came from the United States Census Bureau through Wikipedia; the country population data came from Internet World Stats (IWS); and the country GDP data came from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Additionally, I retrieved state GDP data from USgovernmentrevenue.com via Wikipedia. On to the rankings…

Top Solar States vs Top Solar Countries: Total Solar Power Capacity Per Capita

solar power rankings per capita chart
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Image Credit: Zachary Shahan / CleanTechnica
solar rankings per capita
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Image Credit: Zachary Shahan / CleanTechnica

Top Solar States vs Top Solar Countries: New Solar Power Capacity Per Capita

solar rankings per capita new chart
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Image Credit: Zachary Shahan / CleanTechnica
solar rankings per capita new
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Image Credit: Zachary Shahan / CleanTechnica

Top Solar States vs Top Solar Countries: Total Solar Power Capacity Per GDP

solar rankings gdp
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Image Credit: Zachary Shahan / CleanTechnica
solar power rankings gdp total solar
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Image Credit: Zachary Shahan / CleanTechnica

Top Solar States vs Top Solar Countries: New Solar Power Capacity Per GDP

solar rankings gdp new solar chart
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Image Credit: Zachary Shahan / CleanTechnica
solar rankings per gdp
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Image Credit: Zachary Shahan / CleanTechnica

Solar Power Reflections

I’m not going to reflect a lot on the various solar power country leaders and the solar power state leaders, since I already did that (check those links). The key thing I was interested in here was how certain US states compared to leading solar power countries.

I think it is uplifting that some US states actually fair very well in new and total solar power capacity per capita (#2 & #5 — Arizona, #5 & #7 — Hawaii, #6 & #9 — Nevada, #11 & #11 — New Jersey, #24 & #15 — New Mexico, #14 & #17 — California, #15 & #25 — Vermont).

It’s also not insignificant at all when you consider that the populations of some of those states rival the populations of many of the countries on this list. Arizona’s comparable to Bulgaria. New Jersey’s comparable to the Czech Republic, Greece, and Bulgaria. Compared to the other countries in the top 20, California is only smaller than Germany, Italy, France, and Spain, and it can certainly be compared with them.

Another key takeaway is: imagine if all 50 US states had solar policies and electricity policies that compared to those in the top states! Yes, part of the solar success in 5 of those top 6 states is solar radiation levels, but certainly not all of it! Strong solar policies have been critical to their success, and weak solar policies have kept sunny states like Florida and Texas from cashing in.

Per GDP, the states don’t fare as well, showing that perhaps their relatively strong economies are important factors propelling them forward in the realm of solar power. However, they certainly don’t shoot to the bottom of the list, and some of them retain fairly high rankings. For total solar power per GDP, Arizona (#9), Hawaii (#11), Nevada (#12), New Mexico (#13), New Jersey (#15), and even California (#19) remain in the top 20. That’s 30% of the countries or states in the top 20.

For new solar power capacity per GDP, Arizona (#3) still does excellently; Hawaii (#7) and Nevada (#8) do very well; and New Jersey (#12), Vermont (#14), and California (#20) put in a good showing.

All in all, our state solar leaders are true global solar leaders. They’re not quite on the same level as the various country leaders of Europe, but they’re in the ballpark. As far as the laggards… well, laggards are laggards. It’s quite humiliating that my home state of Florida, “The Sunshine State,” ranks so poorly. It’s also sad that very solar-endowed Texas as well as Georgia, Utah, Oklahoma, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina don’t do better. Maybe next year?


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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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