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Which States Lead The Way In Solar Energy?

solar panels for home

The United States leads the world in solar capacity thanks to the impressive renewable energy efforts of a few individual states. California, the nation’s biggest state, may take the cake, but dozens of other states are also making a big impact with solar energy.

Let’s take a closer look at a few states that have committed to a solar future— and how they’re doing it.


California is home to nearly 40 million people— meaning it’s more populous than the entire country of Canada. Enormous numbers of people put tremendous amounts of strain on the grid, which elected officials in the Golden State realized early on.

In 2006, then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the California Solar Initiative (CSI), which set out to install 3,000 new megawatts (MW) of solar power by 2016. To make good on this promise, homeowners were offered generous subsidies and incentives to go solar, often in the thousands.

In the end, the program was an unqualified success! California hit its solar initiative goal one year early, and solar installation rates have skyrocketed even after rebates were phased out. In other words, solar incentives let millions of California residents try solar for themselves— and once you go solar, you don’t go back.

While the CSI has come to a close, California has many other solar plans and projects in the pipeline. This past September, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 100, which calls for 100 percent clean energy by 2045. In October of last year, Governor Brown signed two other bills, which codify consumer protections for residential solar buyers.

With five times the solar capacity of any other state, California— and its top solar companies, including Plug It In Solarsets the bar for solar power around the globe.

North Carolina

Few would guess that North Carolina is home to the nation’s second-largest solar capacity, but the Tar Heel State seems to have a few tricks up its sleeve. Much of North Carolina’s 4.5 gigawatts (GW) of solar capacity comes from commercial solar installations, but there are also half a million homes equipped with solar panels.

Much like California, North Carolina has incentivized solar installation through legislation. Unlike California, however, North Carolina’s solar growth has been a team effort— companies and consumers have played just as big of a role as politicians in its statewide boom. In many ways, the state’s solar growth was simply the fortunate outcome of unlikely circumstances — but now that North Carolina has gone solar, there’s no going back.


Arizona is the nation’s third-largest solar producer, which makes complete sense. Nicknamed the Grand Canyon State, Arizona is scorching hot year-round, but particularly during the summer— 100 degree afternoons are fairly standard. Solar energy, in the end, requires sunlight, and Arizonans get plenty of it.

There is 3.6 GW of installed solar capacity in Arizona, which provides over six percent of the state’s total energy needs. Over 530,000 homes have installed solar systems, and the state’s solar installation rate is growing at the second-fastest clip in the entire nation.

Initiatives and rebates, while less generous than California’s, are a big reason solar has taken off in the Grand Canyon State. Arizona’s Residential Solar Energy Credit, for instance, lets residential solar consumers deduct up to $1,000 a year off of their taxes. Residents are also eligible to deduct sales tax off of their purchase, and businesses can deduct up to $50,000 off of their tax bill.

Finally, Arizonans can take advantage of federal incentives, including the Federal Solar Tax Credit, which offers up to a 30 percent tax credit before state rebates and incentives. The Federal Solar Tax Credit is set to expire in 2022, so wherever you live,

there’s no time to lose.


Finally, Nevada, better known for its gambling industry, comes in fourth nationwide in solar capacity. Nevada, much like Arizona, has no shortage of sunlight, which may help explain its high number of solar installations.

The Silver State has 2.66 GW of installed solar capacity, and over 400,000 homes have decided to go solar. Over 10 percent of the state’s total energy needs are met by solar power, good for second in the nation, and Nevada’s solar industry looks primed to continue to grow at a steady rate.

Nevada, much like other states, has used policy incentives to reach its solar energy goals. Net-metering was recently restored for Nevadan homeowners, and the state’s Renewable Generations Rebate Program offers homeowners thousands for installing solar panels.

With prices decreasing and rebates set to lapse, now’s the perfect time to go solar. Wherever you are in your decision process, Plug It In Solar is here to help.

Call us at (818) 670-7769, or shoot us a message here to schedule a free consultation with the leading solar installer in Van Nuys and Los Angeles.

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