America’s leading solar energy company, SolarCity, has taken to its blog to highlight “the absurd growth potential of rooftop solar in America” by producing three maps that really do show the phenomenal potential rooftop solar has in the US.
As SolarCity explains, rooftop solar in the US has already seen impressive growth over the past few years, with the cost of solar installations falling by more than 70% in the last decade, and the nation’s rooftop solar capacity increasing 15-fold since 2010. But as SolarCity explains, “It’s really just the beginning.”
SolarCity produced three maps which outlined the current layout of rooftop solar in the US, and the massive potential waiting in the wings. (All three maps have interactive abilities, so head on over to SolarCity’s blog to see more.)
Map #1: Which states today have a meaningful amount of homes with solar rooftops?
The first map shows the states that currently have approximately enough residential solar to power around 3,000 homes or more. As can be seen, there are a few states with a sizeable amount of residential solar — including California, Arizona, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts. But according to SolarCity, ” if residential rooftops are to become a major energy source across America, then powering a few thousand homes here and there isn’t enough.”
Map #2: Which states today have enough residential solar to power a significant number of homes?
The second map shows the states that currently have enough residential solar power to power around 80,000 homes or more — that’s roughly the number of homes in a mid-size US city like Irvine, California, or Salt Lake City, Utah. The map shows that only California, Arizona, New York, New Jersey, and Maryland currently have enough residential solar to power that many homes.
Map #3: Which states have the potential for residential solar to power a significant number of homes?
So this is the big one, then — what is the potential for residential solar in every state?
And the potential is huge.
Every state in the US could see rooftop solar become a major energy resource. Analysis by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory suggests that rooftop solar capacity in the US could increase 100-times over, and each state could meet anywhere between 10% and 45% of its electricity needs with residential solar.
In all, rooftop solar could provide around 25% of the United States’ electricity demand, and if you add in rooftops on medium and large buildings, that number increases to 40%. Currently, however, rooftop solar in the US only provides less-than 0.5%.
Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
CleanTechnica Holiday Wish Book
Our Latest EVObsession Video
CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.