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Top Solar States Per Capita 2012 vs. 2020 — CleanTechnica Report

After digging into an old spreadsheet to create a new report on top solar power states per capita, it crossed my mind to compare the results from the first half of 2020 with the results from 2012, which is the last time I had published such a report before today.

After digging into an old spreadsheet to create a new report on top solar power states per capita, it crossed my mind to compare the results from the first half of 2020 with the results from 2012, which is the last time I had published such a report before today. The results are pretty fun to look at.

I will also include a chart on the bottom based on changes in total solar power capacity, not solar power capacity per capita. Also note that this report does not include all 50 states, unlike the previous on, because the data I had back in 2012 didn’t include all 50 states. It just included the top 25 states in terms of overall solar power capacity.

As a final note before getting into the data, for this article, I’m including two charts for the per-capita rankings. The first chart is ordered based on the 2012 ranking. Back then, Arizona was #1, Hawaii was #2, and Nevada was #3. The second chart is ordered based on the 2020 ranking. Arizona isn’t even on the podium in 2020 and Nevada is #1. Again, for the full 2020 ranking, see this report.

There are two big things that I think are interesting about the two charts above and below. First of all, it’s uplifting to see how much solar power capacity per capita has increased in each of these states. (And, yes, I did use different population data for the two years.) Secondly, it is quite fascinating to see how the ranking has shifted around. Here are 13 highlights from the top of the list:

  • Nevada rose from #3 in 2012 to #1 in 2020
  • California rose from #6 in 2012 to #3 in 2020
  • North Carolina rose from #11 in 2012 to #5 in 2020
  • Vermont rose from #9 in 2012 to #6 in 2020
  • Utah came from off the charts to #7!
  • Massachusetts rose from #10 in 2012 to #9 in 2020
  • Hawaii is in the same position (#2)
  • Arizona dropped from #1 in 2012 to #5 in 2020
  • New Jersey dropped from #4 in 2012 to #10 in 2020
  • New Mexico dropped from #5 in 2012 to #8 in 2020
  • Delaware dropped from #7 in 2012 to #23 in 2020
  • Colorado dropped from #8 in 2012 to #13 in 2020
  • Maryland dropped from #12 in 2012 to #19 in 2020

Before jumping to the changes in total solar power capacity, I discovered that the US Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has some interesting “quick facts” on each state in the country, so let’s look at those bullet lists of fun facts for the top 5 states in terms of 2020 solar power capacity per capita.

Nevada

  • National Ranking: 6th (10th in 2019).
  • State Homes Powered by Solar: 652,128 homes.
  • Percentage of State’s Electricity from Solar: 15.26%.
  • Solar Companies in State: 84 (12 Manufacturers, 39 Installers/Developers, 33 Others).
  • Total Solar Investment in State: $7,185.55 million.
  • Prices have fallen 38% over the last 5 years.
  • Growth Projection: 4,332 MW over the next 5 years (ranks 5th).

Hawaii

  • National Ranking: 15th (11th in 2019).
  • State Homes Powered by Solar: 335,627 homes.
  • Percentage of State’s Electricity from Solar: 14.27%.
  • Solar Companies in State: 94 (3 Manufacturers, 65 Installers/Developers, 26 Others).
  • Total Solar Investment in State: $3,579.91 million.
  • Prices have fallen 38% over the last 5 years.
  • Growth Projection: 1,356 MW over the next 5 years (ranks 22nd).

California

  • National Ranking: 1st (1st in 2019).
  • State Homes Powered by Solar: 7,915,033 homes.
  • Percentage of State’s Electricity from Solar: 22.19%.
  • Solar Companies in State: 2,006 (341 Manufacturers, 951 Installers/Developers, 714 Others).
  • Total Solar Investment in State: $68,148.93 million.
  • Prices have fallen 38% over the last 5 years.
  • Growth Projection: 15,208 MW over the next 5 years (ranks 1st).

Arizona

  • National Ranking: 5th (4th in 2019).
  • State Homes Powered by Solar: 768,164 homes.
  • Percentage of State’s Electricity from Solar: 7.56%.
  • Solar Companies in State: 307 (62 Manufacturers, 142 Installers/Developers, 103 Others).
  • Total Solar Investment in State: $12,772.41 million.
  • Prices have fallen 38% over the last 5 years.
  • Growth Projection: 2,260 MW over the next 5 years (ranks 9th).

North Carolina

  • National Ranking: 2nd (6th in 2019).
  • State Homes Powered by Solar: 777,493 homes.
  • Percentage of State’s Electricity from Solar: 6.59%.
  • Solar Companies in State: 216 (35 Manufacturers, 88 Installers/Developers, 93 Others).
  • Total Solar Investment in State: $8,999.31 million.
  • Prices have fallen 38% over the last 5 years.
  • Growth Projection: 3,623 MW over the next 5 years (ranks 7th).

If you look closely, you can spot interesting differences in 2012 versus 2020 in terms of total solar power installations as well — aside from the fact that 2012’s total solar power capacity looks minuscule.

North Carolina jumped up the charts from #7 to #2. New Jersey had almost the opposite result, dropping from #3 to #7. Similarly, Nevada went from #4 to #6. That may come as a surprise, given that Nevada rose in the per capita rankings during the same timespan from #6 to #1. How is that possible? The reason is that more populous states started installing more solar from tiny base amounts in 2012, specifically Florida, Texas, and North Carolina. Florida rose from #13 to #4, Texas from #12 to #5, and North Carolina from #6 to #2.

Do you have any other top takeaways from these charts and how the US solar market has shifted over time?

Want to help increase the solar score in your state? If you’re interested in going solar and want to check out Tesla’s solar offerings, feel free to use my referral code for $100 off the solar PV system price: https://ts.la/zachary63404

 
 
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Written By

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], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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