The Leading States in Solar Energy Use in the USA

You have probably noticed your neighbor’s roofs changing color or design in the past few years. You may also have seen a lot of information regarding solar energy. Surprisingly, this technology has taken root only in the last few years. Most states are encouraging solar energy use through incentives.

As early as 2007, The US did not have any utility-scale solar power plants. Fast forward to today, hundreds exist. State-level practices and policies are attributed to this growth. We are going to look at state participation leading to the booming solar industry.

States with the Best Solar Viability

The growth of solar adoption in the US is not only good for climate change, but it is also great for the economy. As more people switch to solar, carbon pollution levels decrease, and there is job creation. The solar power industry is creating jobs faster than any other sector.

In the past decade, there has been a 167% job increase in the solar power sector. Between 2014 and 2019, employment in the solar industry grew by 44%. This growth exceeds the overall US job growth in the economy by five times, making solar alluring for all regions. Below are some of the best states for solar energy use.

1. California

When it comes to adopting solar energy, The Golden State leads. The region has a 13,241 megawatts capacity, which can power about 3.32 million homes. This capacity is about five times more than in the second state. The state also provides some of the best rebates. California can pay solar panel installers between $500 in total or $0.95 per watt of the capacity installed.

California also has the best PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy), referred to as Home Energy Renovation Opportunity (HERO). This program allows residents to finance the installation of PVs, paying it back through property tax. Many other programs exist from county to county.

Another reason this state makes it to the list is that they offer net metering. Under this program, you gain credits for any extra energy generated by your system. All these incentives add to the federal tax, which has now been extended to 2021. Also, residents gain a 26% discount.

2. Texas

The solar systems in Texas have a capacity of 5,577.44 MW, which can power about 642,199 homes. It is ranked third in sunny states. For this reason, it is an excellent place to consider solar panel installation. Solar power tax rebates in Texas are locally based; for example, Austin residents enjoy a $2500 refund. Additionally, you become eligible for Austin Energy’s Value of Solar Tariff. Under this program, you are paid $0.097 for every kWh your system generates.

CPS Energy customers receive about $1.20/W of solar panels, which they can install on their roofs. As more solar panel systems are installed, this value decreases. Other areas in Texas also offer these rebates.

Another benefit of going solar in Texas revolves around property tax. Usually, when your home has a higher value, the property taxes also increase to match that. In Texas, there is a renewable energy property tax exemption. As a result, your taxes do not increase when you install solar panels on your roof.

Though there is no net metering in the state of Texas, most utility companies have existing programs that offer credit to solar energy owners for the electricity they generate. Homeowners associations can be prohibiting when you want to have additions in your property. In Texas, solar protection laws are preventing HOA from banning the use of solar energy. Such incentives encourage you to switch to solar because you know that the solar energy system is protected.

3. Rhode Island

It is one of the smallest states in the US. However, when it comes to solar energy, this is not the case. There are significant state and federal incentives for switching to solar. First, there are small scale grants of about $0.85 per watt through the installation company. The amount goes up to $7,000. This means that when you install a solar energy system of about 5-kilowatt, you will get $4,250 immediately.

You can receive property tax exemption in Rhode Island, thanks to the Residential Solar Energy Property Tax Exemption program. Due to Renewable Energy Products Sales and Use Tax Exemption, you do not pay taxes on the solar energy system. It is like buying solar equipment at a duty-free store.

The state also has a feed-in-tariff program that promotes the growth of renewable energy. If you participate in the program, you get 29.65 cents for every kilowatt-hour sold to the grid for the first 15 years of your system.

4. Arizona

It is one of the sunniest states; thus, it has experienced notable growth in solar installations. It has 2,303 MW of solar capacity that can power 327,000 homes. When looking at cities with the most solar installations, Phoenix is at number three.

Arizona has some of the top-rated state incentives and solar tax credits. First, the Residential Arizona Solar Tax Credit gives you a refund of 25% of the solar panels’ costs of up to $1,000. Usually, during the year, you install the panels right off your income personal tax.

Additionally, you do not pay tax for the solar system due to Solar Equipment Sales Tax Exemption laws. The region also has a property tax exemption act, which safeguards you from paying more taxes as solar increases your home’s value. All this comes alongside the federal tax break.

5. South Carolina

As you are looking for a summer home vacation in South Carolina, it is good to know that the state has the best solar incentives and rebates. The state’s year-round sunshine makes it ideal for solar panel installation.

You receive a 25% discount on the solar panels’ installation costs. You can claim this discount as a tax credit. This tax credit can be carried forward for up to ten years if you do not pay such a tax amount.

Various utility companies in the Palmetto state have different incentives. For example, a Duke Energy Progress customer can receive a $1.00 rebate for each solar watt installed in their home or business. If you install a 6000kW system, you gain $6,000, which will go a long way in helping you offset the solar costs. Santee Cooper has their incentive at $1.30/W but with a limit of $5,200.

Net metering is always an essential factor to consider. South Carolina is part of the states that offer this program. Such benefits combined with the 26% discount from the federal government helps drive installations in Palmetto State.

6. North Carolina

Currently, North Carolina has a 2,087 MW capacity that can provide energy to 223,000 homes, which leads to the creation of jobs. One of the most significant incentives is the rebate offered by Duke Energy. Under the program, they offer $0.60/watt per 10kW system. This makes a system of about 6 kilowatts (kW) to receive a $3,600 rebate.

There is legislation in NC allowing cities and counties to offer low-interest loans for solar installation. Due to these laws, a solar loan can have a term of up to 20 years, with an easy renewal option. Like other states highlighted previously, property tax exemption also applies. 

As you install solar panels on your roof, small changes add up, and it can be a considerable figure. The city of Asheville in NC offers a building permit rebate protecting from increasing charges. The incentive applies to both residential and commercial installations.

In NC, you can use the net metering system. Under this program, you gain credits for excess energy that your system supplies to the grid. You can also use those credits during bad weather when your system is not generating enough.

7. Massachusetts

MA can power163,000 homes from its solar capacity. The state offers clear cut incentives for solar energy under the MA renewable income offer. Under this plan, if you own a solar system, you can get about 15% coverage of its cost against your income tax.

The most exciting incentive in MA has to do with the SMART program. Customers of National Grid, Eversource, and Until get paid by the state. The rate is fixed for the next ten years per kilowatt-hour. Your systems rate ranges between 29 and 31 cents per kWh if it is less than 25 kW. This rate also depends on your utility as well as location.

The regular rate in MA is 20 cents, which shows significant savings. Additionally, the rates are higher for customers with low income. Also, customers who install solar energy storage to complement their system gain higher incentives.

Net metering options are also available. Also, loan programs are available to homeowners, making it possible for you to own PV systems because you pay fixed loans. The residents also benefit from property tax and sales tax incentives.

Take Away

Solar energy is instrumental in job creation. Many states are encouraging the adoption of this technology for economic growth and easing pressure on the utility grid. Additionally, most customers derive great benefits and incentives, along with getting reduced electricity bills.

At Dynamic, our commitment is to see homes and businesses in Texas enjoy solar energy benefits. We have a team of professional solar installers and quality products. You can fill the free solar quote request form to transition to a clean, renewable, and affordable energy source.