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How Solar Is Your State?

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Solar power is fast becoming one of the most accessible alternative energy sources, now that non-renewables are declining. In fact, The U.S. is second in the world only after China with regard to total cumulative installed capacity, and that capacity will only increase in the coming years.

This graphic, created by Fixr, using information from SEIA (Solar Energy Industry Association), shows the total solar capacity by state and indicates projections for the next 5 years.

California leads the pack with 22,777.17MW installed; more than five times more solar power than North Carolina, which comes in a slow second, and almost seven times as much as third-placed Arizona.

Only 12 other states have an installed capacity exceeding 1,000MW, namely, Nevada, Texas, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Florida, Utah, Georgia, New York, and Colorado.

The remaining states’ solar capacity combined, barely equals half that of California's total, ending off with the state with the lowest capacity: North Dakota, with 0.33MW, installed.

Factors to consider for Solar

Though not all states are created equal with regard to sunlight access, the cost to the customer is also affected by federal rebates and tax cuts, as well as the differing local incentives based on a state’s municipal and/or private funding. Totals are also affected by the costs to buy and install solar panels, as well as the availability of skilled labor. For instance, though California tops the list for installed capacity, installation for a 6kW system will average $13,566. 9th place holder, Florida, however, stands with an average installation cost of only $10,584. In order to establish yourself in the solar market, it may be beneficial to consider added services to boost your offering to customers. For instance, as mentioned, incentives differ significantly state by state, so perhaps providing insight into the local options and a breakdown of potential savings would be a good start.  The cost to maintain solar panels is another area where value can be added, with suppliers either including a certain number of services when a customer purchases and installs through them, or providing bulk offers for a certain number of annual services purchased in advance.

The main benefit to the consumer, after providing a clean energy alternative, is that solar systems offer a competitive ROI, and the average system should pay for itself within 7 years (according to Energy Sage). Also, as prices have fallen 43% in the last 5 years, independent of location, solar is getting more and more accessible for all. So a differentiated offering with additional expertise may be the deciding feature for suppliers.

A Final word on Solar

Solar is also outstripping the competition in terms of employment opportunities, leading to a stronger, jobs-driven economy as the sector grows. For those looking to diversify or upskill workers, solar, and alternatives in general, are set to be strong growers in the coming years.

Irrespective of the current stats, the smaller states are adapting hard, with places like Hawaii aiming for 100% solar by 2025. Given that the 30% federal tax credit is set to be dropped in 2021, now would seem to be the perfect time for construction professionals everywhere to take advantage of the opportunities solar could provide.

Cristina Miguelez's picture

Thank Cristina for the Post!

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Apr 12, 2019 1:14 am GMT

That my home of Washington DC is outpacing 11 FULL STATES is a testament to just how much work there still is to be done in much of the country. A city should not be leading states with such large areas

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