Top US States for Percentage of Electricity from Solar

Clean Power

Published on October 5th, 2020 |
by Zachary Shahan

October 5th, 2020 by  


Following up on two solar reports I published last night, we’ve got one more. Those two reports looked at 1) the top US states in terms of installed solar power per capita and then 2) the top US states in terms of installed solar power per capita in 2012 versus 2020. Finding data for the latter led me to data on solar energy’s contribution to each state’s electricity. So, this report ranks states according to the percentage of their electricity that comes from solar.

Interestingly, this ranking of solar power’s relative importance or success in each state has different results from the solar power per capita ranking. Whereas installed solar power per capita was led by Nevada, Hawaii, and California — #1, #2, and #3, respectively — this ranking based on percentage of electricity coming from solar was led by California, Massachusetts, and Nevada, respectively.

Aside from the clear news that California is solar king again in this ranking, notable takeaways are that some Northeastern states are indeed solar power leaders (Massachusetts is #2, Vermont is #4 in the ranking) and the Sunshine State is quite lame when it comes to solar power.

There are other nuggets too, but I think most interesting is seeing how the states do in this ranking versus the per-capita ranking — throughout the ranking, there are differences. So, let’s have a scroll below to examine how states did in both states. (If the table below does not show well for you on your phone or such, you can click here for a static image of the rankings.)

State % of Electricity from Solar Solar Watts per Capita
California 1 3
Massachusetts 2 9
Nevada 3 1
Vermont 4 6
Hawaii 5 2
Utah 6 7
Arizona 7 4
North Carolina 8 5
New Jersey 9 10
New Mexico 10 8
Maryland 11 19
Rhode Island 12 12
Idaho 13 11
Colorado 14 13
Delaware 15 23
Minnesota 16 14
Florida 17 17
Georgia 18 15
New York 19 24
Connecticut 20 18
Oregon 21 21
South Carolina 22 16
Texas 23 22
Virginia 24 25
Maine 25 29
New Hampshire 26 27
Missouri 27 34
Mississippi 28 26
Tennessee 29 32
Indiana 30 30
Wyoming 31 20
Arkansas 32 28
Ohio 33 41
Pennsylvania 34 35
Wisconsin 35 37
Alabama 36 44
Michigan 37 43
Washington 38 39
Montana 39 31
Iowa 40 33
Illinois 41 42
Louisiana 42 36
Nebraska 43 38
Kentucky 44 46
Kansas 45 40
Oklahoma 46 45
Alaska 47 47
West Virginia 48 48
South Dakota 49 49
North Dakota 50 50

Those stats come from the US Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). You can find more stats and fun facts about each state via that source. To close out this article, here are short bullet lists of top stats and facts SEIA provides for the 5 states that are leading in terms of percentage of electricity coming from solar energy, as well as charts of their annual solar power installations from 2010–2020:


California

  • Solar Installed (MW): 28,471.51
  • National Ranking: 1st (1st in 2019)
  • Enough Solar Installed to Power: 7,915,033 homes
  • Percentage of State’s Electricity from Solar: 22.19%
  • Solar Jobs: 74,255
  • 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 and Ranking: 15,208 MW over the next 5 years (ranks 1st)
  • Number Of Installations: 1,173,243

Massachusetts

  • Solar Installed (MW): 2,849.47
  • National Ranking: 8th (14th in 2019)
  • Enough Solar Installed to Power: 489,397 homes
  • Percentage of State’s Electricity from Solar: 17.38%
  • Solar Jobs: 10,400
  • Solar Companies in State: 419 (71 Manufacturers, 150 Installers/Developers, 198 Others)
  • Total Solar Investment in State: $7,133.69 million
  • Prices have fallen 38% over the last 5 years
  • Growth Projection and Ranking: 1,418 MW over the next 5 years (ranks 20th)
  • Number Of Installations: 106,772

Nevada

  • Solar Installed (MW): 3,612.85
  • National Ranking: 6th (10th in 2019)
  • Enough Solar Installed to Power: 652,128 homes
  • Percentage of State’s Electricity from Solar: 15.26%
  • Solar Jobs: 7,000
  • 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 and Ranking: 4,332 MW over the next 5 years (ranks 5th)
  • Number Of Installations: 58,026

Vermont

  • Solar Installed (MW): 358.22
  • National Ranking: 25th (28th in 2019)
  • Enough Solar Installed to Power: 66,236 homes
  • Percentage of State’s Electricity from Solar: 15.26%
  • Solar Jobs: 1,186
  • Solar Companies in State: 60 (10 Manufacturers, 33 Installers/Developers, 17 Others)
  • Total Solar Investment in State: $686.02 million
  • Prices have fallen 38% over the last 5 years
  • Growth Projection and Ranking: 251 MW over the next 5 years (ranks 44th)
  • Number Of Installations: 8,648

Hawaii

  • Solar Installed (MW): 1,361.94
  • National Ranking: 15th (11th in 2019)
  • Enough Solar Installed to Power: 335,627 homes
  • Percentage of State’s Electricity from Solar: 14.27%
  • Solar Jobs: 2,484
  • 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 and Ranking: 1,356 MW over the next 5 years (ranks 22nd)
  • Number Of Installations: 88,641


Any further thoughts on these rankings or these states?

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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About the Author

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 NIO [NIO], Tesla [TSLA], and Xpeng [XPEV]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.