Which State Is Leading the Charge in Solar?

What does solar energy adoption look like across America? The cost of solar panels have gone down significantly, but state incentives maybe what's most helping to drive this solar surge.

Which State Is Leading the Charge in Solar?


What does solar energy adoption look like across America? The company Modernize has published a piece, called The Solar Surge, which beautifully illustrates the adoption of solar across America and which states are leading the charge.

The top 10 states with the most solar installations* dating back to as far as 1995, include California, Arizona, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Texas, Maryland, and New Mexico.

The adoption of renewable energy has been growing significantly over the past decade (up around 139,000 percent), due in part to the drop in the cost. Back in 1998, installing solar panels would have cost somewhere around $90,000—hardly a consumer-grade piece of technology. But today, homeowners can expect to pay somewhere below $30,000.

Investments to improve battery and photovoltaic technology continues to drive the price down. Some researchers are even quite optimistic about the adoption of renewable technology—not just in America, but worldwide—they predict fossil fuels could be eliminated in 10 years. But, the researchers say two things needed to happen in order for this prediction to come true:

1) Strong government support 2) coupled with a shift in consumer preferences driven by incentives.

Studies have shown there's a strong correlation between solar adoption and incentives. One study, which examined the effects of financial incentives as a way to encourage solar adoption between 1986 and 2008. They found “cash incentives and the presence of state renewable energy mandates influence grid-tied PV installations the most, and that property and sales tax incentives were also associated with higher PV installations across states.”

As you can see from the graphs below, California has some of the most robust incentives in place, which, in part, explains its residents widespread adoption. Recently, the city of San Francisco passed a city ordinance, which requires all new buildings to come equipped with solar panels. This ordinance builds upon a state law, requiring new buildings to make 15 percent of roofs “solar ready.”

Climate change is a good motivating factor, but nothing moves the masses quite like a good deal. Adoption of renewables will rely on government action and the advancement of solar technology. Government action will dictate whether solar becomes a slow or rapid success in the United States and across the world. In Florida, one of the sunnier states in America, we're seeing just how much funding from utility companies can impact the adoption of solar.

“We have renewables when three times as much as when this president came into office,” says Gina McCarthy, the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “Ten times more solar than we’ve ever had. And these are becoming competitive technologies.”

‘Designer baby’ book trilogy explores the moral dilemmas humans may soon create

How would the ability to genetically customize children change society? Sci-fi author Eugene Clark explores the future on our horizon in Volume I of the "Genetic Pressure" series.

Surprising Science
  • A new sci-fi book series called "Genetic Pressure" explores the scientific and moral implications of a world with a burgeoning designer baby industry.
  • It's currently illegal to implant genetically edited human embryos in most nations, but designer babies may someday become widespread.
  • While gene-editing technology could help humans eliminate genetic diseases, some in the scientific community fear it may also usher in a new era of eugenics.
Keep reading Show less

Massive 'Darth Vader' isopod found lurking in the Indian Ocean

The father of all giant sea bugs was recently discovered off the coast of Java.

A close up of Bathynomus raksasa

SJADE 2018
Surprising Science
  • A new species of isopod with a resemblance to a certain Sith lord was just discovered.
  • It is the first known giant isopod from the Indian Ocean.
  • The finding extends the list of giant isopods even further.
Keep reading Show less

These are the world’s greatest threats in 2021

We look back at a year ravaged by a global pandemic, economic downturn, political turmoil and the ever-worsening climate crisis.

Luis Ascui/Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs

Billions are at risk of missing out on the digital leap forward, as growing disparities challenge the social fabric.

Keep reading Show less

Columbia study finds new way to extract energy from black holes

A new study explains how a chaotic region just outside a black hole's event horizon might provide a virtually endless supply of energy.

Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Surprising Science
  • In 1969, the physicist Roger Penrose first proposed a way in which it might be possible to extract energy from a black hole.
  • A new study builds upon similar ideas to describe how chaotic magnetic activity in the ergosphere of a black hole may produce vast amounts of energy, which could potentially be harvested.
  • The findings suggest that, in the very distant future, it may be possible for a civilization to survive by harnessing the energy of a black hole rather than a star.
Keep reading Show less
Mind & Brain

A psychiatric diagnosis can be more than an unkind ‘label’

A popular and longstanding wave of thought in psychology and psychotherapy is that diagnosis is not relevant for practitioners in those fields.

Scroll down to load more…
Quantcast