Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Clean Power

Record U.S. Small-Scale Solar Capacity Added In 2022

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

We estimate that the United States added 6.4 gigawatts (GW) of small-scale solar capacity in 2022, the most ever in a single year.

Small-scale solar—also called distributed solar or rooftop solar—refers to solar-power systems with 1 megawatt (MW) of capacity or less. Rooftop solar panels installed on homes make up the majority of small-scale solar capacity in the United States. Small-scale solar power systems are also used in the commercial and industrial sectors.

Data source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Electric Power Industry Report, June 2023

U.S. small-scale solar capacity grew from 7.3 GW in 2014, when we started publishing these estimates, to 39.5 GW in 2022. Small-scale solar makes up about one-third of the total solar capacity in the United States.

Tax credits and incentives, public policy, and higher retail electricity prices have encouraged the growth of small-scale solar capacity over the past decade. Falling solar panel costs have also played a significant role.

California has, by far, the largest share of the country’s small-scale solar capacity, at 36%. Ample sunshine, favorable incentives, and relatively high retail electricity prices have encouraged rooftop solar adoption in California. California’s Net Energy Metering Program allows rooftop solar panels to be connected to the power grid and provides credits for any surplus electricity produced by the panels and sent to the grid. Starting in 2020, California requires newly built single-family homes and multifamily buildings up to three stories high to have solar panels installed.

New York and New Jersey—mid-Atlantic states with less year-round sunshine—have the second- and third-most small-scale solar capacity, respectively, although in recent years, sunny Texas and Arizona have been closing the gap. Long-standing state policies in policies in New York and New Jersey offer generous solar incentives and have encouraged small-scale solar growth.

Many of the states with the most small-scale solar capacity also have large populations. Accounting for population size provides insight into how prevalent small-scale solar capacity really is in a state. Although California has the most small-scale solar capacity, Hawaii has the highest small-scale solar penetration, at 541 watts per capita.

Data source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Monthly Electric Power Industry ReportU.S. Census Bureau

A large share of Hawaii’s electricity has historically come from oil-fired power plants. These plants rely on expensive fuel imports, resulting in high electricity bills. As solar panel costs have fallen, many homes and businesses in Hawaii have added solar panels, reducing their electricity bills and helping the state work toward its target to generate 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2045.

Principal contributors: Elesia Fasching, Katherine Antonio

Article and data source courtesy of U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

EV Obsession Daily!

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it!! So, we've decided to completely nix paywalls here at CleanTechnica. But...
Like other media companies, we need reader support! If you support us, please chip in a bit monthly to help our team write, edit, and publish 15 cleantech stories a day!
Thank you!

Tesla Sales in 2023, 2024, and 2030

CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.

-- the EIA collects, analyzes, and disseminates independent and impartial energy information to promote sound policymaking, efficient markets, and public understanding of energy and its interaction with the economy and the environment.


You May Also Like

Clean Transport

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News! According to registration data used as a proxy...

Clean Power

Someone should look seriously at Red Hill and do more than this napkin math. 140 MWh of high-efficiency storage that reuses existing infrastructure isn't...


Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News! With more electric vehicle choices than ever, EV...


Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News! Jill Pestana is a California-based battery scientist and...

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.