Solar-Powered Home Trend
As global climate change and fossil fuel scarcity become undeniable realities, the demand for renewable energy sources has increased significantly. One of the most popular choices for renewable energy is solar power, which is obtained from sunlight. Solar power uses photovoltaic cells to convert sunlight into electricity. These cells may be used for a number of purposes, including providing power to private homes. This trend has become increasingly popular around the world, with several countries across Asia, Europe, and North America leading the way. This article discusses solar-powered homes in the US, which is considered the 5th largest generator of solar power in the world.
US States with the Highest Number of Solar-Powered Homes
In 2016, the United States produced approximately 18,317 megawatts (MW) of solar energy. A large percentage of this energy was produced by private, solar-powered homes. The 10 states with the highest number of solar-powered homes are listed below.
California, located on the Pacific coast, leads the country in terms of the number of solar-powered homes. Reports indicate that 3.319 million houses in the state utilize solar energy for their electricity needs. This number represents about 13,241 megawatts of energy, which is the vast majority of the total amount produced throughout the entire country. Additionally, solar power makes up nearly 10% of all energy produced in the state. California has set a goal of obtaining 33% of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020. The target increases to 50% by 2030.
Arizona, located in the southwest, has the second highest number of solar-powered homes in the US. Here, around 327,000 homes rely on solar energy as a source of electricity. This number represents around 2,303 megawatts of energy, which is significantly less than the amount produced in California. Like California, the government of Arizona has set specific renewable energy goals. By 2025, this state hopes to produce 15% of its energy by renewable resources. Interestingly, two solar farms are located in Arizona, which allow consumers to buy both energy and solar panels to install in their homes.
New Jersey, located on the Atlantic coast, has the third highest number of solar-powered homes in the US. Approximately 257,000 homes in New Jersey are powered by solar energy and produce approximately 1,632 megawatts of energy every year. The number of homes with solar power has increased significantly over the last few years. In 2013 alone, the state installed 22,014 solar panel cells systems. The Renewable Electricity Standard, which requires increased use of renewable energy across the country, has established the renewable energy goal for New Jersey. By 2021, the state aims to produce 22.5% of its energy through renewable resources.
North Carolina has the fourth highest number of solar-powered homes in the country. 223,000 homes in North Carolina rely on solar power to meet their energy needs, which produces about 2,087 megawatts every year. Despite only ranking fourth, North Carolina has achieved one of the fastest growing solar energy industries in the nation. In 2007, the state produced only 1 megawatt. This rapid growth is partly attributed to the decreased cost of solar panels, a tax credit for homeowners who install solar panels in their homes, and a federal grant awarded to the state in order to increase solar panel installation.
The fifth highest number of solar-powered homes in the US can be found in Nevada, which is located in the southwest. 191,000 homes in Nevada are powered by solar energy, producing approximately 1,240 megawatts of energy every year. Since the state is covered by large desert areas, it is considered a prime location for harnessing solar energy. The state hoped to achieve a 5% solar power usage rate by 2015. In 2007, the world's largest solar panel production company was built in the state. However, the plant has since been surpassed by other newer and larger factories.
Massachusetts, a state located in the New England region of the US, has the sixth highest number of solar-powered homes in the country. Together, these homes produce an average of 1,020 megawatts of energy on a yearly basis. Like other states on the list, Massachusetts has experienced rapid growth in its solar power industry over the last several years. The state is also home to the country's largest solar program on a university campus, as well the first solar park.
Hawaii, the only island state in the country, is home to the seventh largest number of solar-powered homes in the US. 146,000 homes in Hawaii obtain their electricity through solar-powered systems, which generate 564 megawatts of energy each year. Despite ranking seventh on the list, Hawaii has the highest rate of solar power per person in the country. Additionally, Hawaii was the first US state to reach grid parity. Grid parity occurs when the cost of producing solar energy is equal to or less than the cost of electricity produced on a traditional grid.
The eighth highest number of solar-powered homes in the US can be found in the state of New York, which is located on the east coast. The state reports that 108,000 homes receive their electricity via solar power, which generates about 638 megawatts of energy every year. Currently, New York is home to the largest solar farm on the country's Atlantic coast, and plans to implement a solar farm on top of a former garbage dump that covers approximately 250 acres.
In Colorado, 103,000 homes are powered by solar energy, ranking ninth on the list. These homes produce approximately 540 megawatts of energy yearly. The state is known for its weather, which produces more days of sunlight than any other state in the country.
Texas has the tenth highest number of solar-powered homes in the country. 57,000 homes produce 534 megawatts of energy on a yearly basis. Given the size of the state, it has the greatest solar power production potential in the country.