Solar power: Here’s where your state now ranks

Source: By Tom DiChristopher, CNBC • Posted: Friday, March 16, 2018

>Workers install Solar Service solar electric panels on the roof of a home.

Tim Boyle | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Workers install Solar Service solar electric panels on the roof of a home.

If you live in South Carolina, congratulations. Your state vaulted nine spots and cracked into the top 20 markets for solar power capacity in 2017.

The Solar Energy Industries Association on Thursday released its annual review of U.S. solar installations and with it comes a fresh ranking of capacity by state.

State Total 2017 Total 2016 2017 Installs 2016 Installs
California 1 1 1 1
North Carolina 2 2 2 4
Arizona 3 3 7 7
Nevada 4 4 9 5
New Jersey 5 5 11 10
Massachusetts 6 7 5 8
Texas 7 9 4 6
Utah 8 6 19 2
Georgia 9 8 21 3
Florida 10 15 3 9
New York 11 10 12 12
Colorado 12 11 23 11
Maryland 13 13 13 13
Hawaii 14 12 18 19
Minnesota 15 16 6 14
New Mexico 16 14 26 15
Virginia 17 20 10 17
South Carolina 18 27 8 20
Oregon 19 19 14 18
Connecticut 20 17 20 21
Idaho 21 21 16 16
Pennsylvania 22 18 25 25
Indiana 23 22 27 23
Alabama 24 28 17 22
Tennessee 25 23 22 26
Mississippi 26 40 15 37
Vermont 27 24 32 24
Ohio 28 26 29 36
Missouri 29 25 39 29
Delaware 30 30 36 30
Washington 31 31 34 28
Michigan 32 35 24 32
Illinois 33 32 40 38
Louisiana 34 29 42 33
New Hampshire 35 33 37 27
Iowa 36 34 35 35
Montana 37 39 28 41
Wisconsin 38 36 33 39
Washington DC 39 37 38 31
Rhode Island 40 NA 31 40
Oklahoma 41 NA 30 44
Kentucky 42 NA 41 34
Arkansas 43 38 43 42
Wyoming 44 NA 44 43

The chart below ranks states and Washington, D.C., by their total solar photovoltaic capacity, the most common type of solar power technology. It also shows how much solar PV each state added in 2017 and 2016.

California remains the undisputed champion, with 19.8 gigawatts of solar PV capacity, nearly five times as much as second-ranked North Carolina.

In fact, there was no change in the top five in 2017, but outside these slots there were plenty of movers and shakers.

Florida returned to the top 10 for the first time since 2011, as the Sunshine State added the third most new solar capacity last year. South Carolina saw the eighth biggest jump in capacity and climbed more rungs than any of the 44 markets tracked by the association.

Those moves reflect one of the report’s key findings: Growth in solar PV capacity is spreading beyond the major markets to the Southeast and Midwest. Markets outside the top 10 accounted for 21 percent of total installed capacity last year, up from 16 percent in 2016.

Along with Florida and South Carolina, this trend is playing out in states such as Minnesota, Virginia, Alabama and Mississippi — all of which ranked in the top 20 for new solar capacity installations in 2017.

These and other emerging U.S. markets will play a big part in driving future solar PV growth, as the major state markets experience headwinds in the coming years.