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Top U.S. Solar States

Solar is on the rise in the United States. As of March 2016, Solar Energy Industries Association released figures showing the top states for solar power. Here are a few states that are shining bright when it comes to solar.

New York

New York has tremendous solar potential and has regularly been in the top 10 list of U.S. solar states. The Empire State has installed 638 MW of solar capacity, which is enough to power 108,000 homes. New York is also fourth place for solar job creation, with 8,250 employees in the solar industry, making it a booming market for solar job growth. New York’s commitment to renewable energy got a further boost with the 2015 announcement by the Public Service Commission of a 10-year $1 billion investment for developing the solar market which is expected to lead to the installation of 3,000 MW of solar energy by 2022.

New Jersey

The Garden State boasts 1,632 MW, which is enough solar capacity to power 257,000 homes. New Jersey has the sixth highest solar capacity per capita with 182 watts per person, but is often ranked in the top five states for renewable energy legislation, tax incentives and utility company policy. At $8.14 per watt, New Jersey’s solar average can be a bit more expensive then some of the other states on our list, but there are many incentives in place to encourage growth in the industry.

Massachusetts

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Massachusetts’ 1,020 MW of solar potential is enough to power 163,000 homes and can average about $5.50/watt. The state also has the second largest number of solar employees with 15,095. The state saw a phenomenal investment of $803 million in the solar sector in 2015. Massachusetts has worked hard to make the state’s solar policies, rebates, performance payments and tax exemptions some of the best in the country. The state’s accessibility laws also make it one the easiest states in which to go solar.

Arizona

With 2,303 MW, Arizona’s solar capacity can power 327,000 homes, and its solar industry provides jobs for 6,922 people. Arizona’s solar averages $5.45 per watt. Solar is expected to continue thriving in the state. Over the next five years, Arizona is expected to install 2,486 MW of solar capacity.

North Carolina

This state’s 2,087 MW is enough to power 223,000 homes. North Carolina is the state to watch, as it had a high number of new installations in 2015, with 1,134 MW installed at an average cost of $6.94/watt. North Carolina invested an incredible $1.6 billion in solar energy last year, which represents a 159% increase over 2014.

California

With around 13,241 MW of solar power, the Golden State produces enough solar energy to power 3,319,000 homes at a cost of around $6.88 per watt. California also tops the charts with the most number of jobs in the solar industry at 75,598.

California’s success can be attributed to the state’s support of the solar industry through incentives that include rebates, tax credits and feed-in tariff incentives. California’s Governor Brown recently signed bill SB 871, which extends the state’s solar property tax exclusion to 2025.

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