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2015 United States Solar Power Rankings

Hi there! Below is the state ranking report for 2015, but that’s old news now. Check out our shiny new 2016 Solar Power Rankings Report for all the recent updates to state solar policy and incentives!

We’ve spent another year shining our solar-powered flashlights into the darkest corners of state energy policy, and we’re back to tell you all about it. We’ve crawled through chasms of congressional records! Sifted through bureaus filled with bureaucracy! And now, behold: The 2015 State Solar Power Rankings!

But seriously, folks. We’ve been keeping an eye on state solar policy since 2007, and bringing the complex world of renewable energy legislation, tax incentives and utility company policy to you in a complete, straightforward way.This year, we’ve rejiggered our ranking system to reflect a number of different factors, ensuring that the state rankings take into account not only how good of a deal getting into solar can be (and it is often a good deal), but also the strength of the underlying policy and the likelihood that the solar train will keep on a-rollin’ into the future.

Each state (and Washington DC) has a score between 0 and 5, and we’ve tracked the trends in our list to show how things have been changing around the country since last year.

The image below shows the states in order of their scores. Click on a state abbreviation to go directly to its section on the page. If you’d like to get really down into it, click on the state’s name in its summary section to go to a page with a complete discussion of the ins and outs of that state’s policy. And if you’d like to read about our methodology, click here to go below the rankings and behind the wizard’s curtain.

On to the rankings!

Clickable State Image Map

Alabama West Virginia Kentucky Mississippi Nebraska Wyoming Georgia Virginia North Dakota Missouri Indiana Maine Alaska Nevada New Hampshire Wisconsin Oklahoma Arkansas Iowa Arizona Idaho Michigan Illinois Tennessee South Carolina Louisiana South Dakota Ohio Pennsylvania Rhode Island Utah Montana Texas Kansas Hawaii Florida North Carolina Washington Washington DC California Delaware New Mexico Vermont Minnesota Maryland Colorado New Jersey Oregon Connecticut Massachusetts New York
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

1

New-York New York
Score: 4.4/5

up 2

Simply put, New York is doing almost everything right. It all starts with the most aggressive RPS in the country, and a really great solar carve-out. A whole slew of rebates and tax incentives follow logically from the RPS goals. New York is the best around, and Governor Cuomo’s commitment to solar energy will keep the picture sweet for a long time to come.
2015 New York Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

2

Massachusetts Massachusetts
Score: 4.2/5

downarrow 1

Massachusetts ceded its 2014 top spot to New York, but the Bay State hasn’t been coasting. They’ve been working hard to make the state’s policies for solar as good as they can be, and we think that the rebates, performance payments, tax exemptions, and perfect accessibility laws make this the easiest state in which to get into solar. And that payback time is nuts.
2015 Massachusetts Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

3

Connecticut Connecticut
Score: 4.1/5

10

Connecticut is a perfect sun-storm of high electricity prices, a great RPS and accessibility laws, and a HUGE solar rebate. It’s enough to rocket the state to near the top of the payback timeframe list, and enough to put it tops on our list, too.
2015 Connecticut Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

4

Oregon Oregon
Score: 3.9/5

7

You might not think of sun when you think of Oregon, but you probably don’t know that the southeastern half of the state gets as much sun as Tennessee and Alabama. And summers, even in rainy Portland, are known for their sunny skies dotted with high clouds. Oregon is also near the top in solar policy, with rebates, tax incentives, and performance payments all over the state, and a great RPS behind it all. That’s enough to warrant top marks.
2015 Oregon State Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

5

New-Jersey New Jersey
Score: 3.8/5

4

You might think of artificial tans before natural ones when you think of the Jersey shore, but Garden Staters might be able to afford those expensive tanning sessions because they’re saving so much money on electricity. Of course we’re joking, but NJ’s solar policy does not mess around. With its strong RPS inspiring great tax exemptions and a rockin’ SREC market, New Jersey is top 5 in the country when it comes to grabbing the rays.
2015 New Jersey Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

6

Colorado Colorado
Score: 3.8/5

1

Colorado is the proof that good, consistent, statewide solar policy works. Even as the larger rebates have been exhausted, solar is still going strong in the Centennial State, thanks to tax exemptions, performance payments, and great accessibility laws.
2015 Colorado Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

7

Maryland Maryland
Score: 3.6/5

5

Maryland makes the top ten even after dropping five spots, because its background policies are strong, and its incentives are so varied. They’ve got your rebates, they’ve got your tax credits, they’ve got your tax exemptions… you get the idea. With so many incentive options, there are ways to make every solar power system in the state pay itself back quickly and reliably, and produce income for years into the future. That’s some top-shelf goodness, right there.
2015 Maryland Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

8

Minnesota Minnesota
Score: 3.6/5

uparrow 14

Minnesota is the biggest gainer in our solar power rankings this year, shooting up 14 spots even as its largest utility transitions from a rebate program to a performance payment. The incentives are still good, though, and Minnesota’s RPS and solar carve-out are some of the best in the nation. Way to go, North Star!
2015 Minnesota Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

9

Vermont Vermont
Score: 3.6/5

uparrow 6

Vermont is part of the group of northeastern states that prove solar is good no matter where you are in the country by putting good policy and incentives out there. The state’s largest utility offers a great performance payment plan, ensuring that solar will be a good bet in Vermont for years to come.
Vermont-State-Report-Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

10

New-Mexico New Mexico
Score: 3.5/5

2

New Mexico falls two places this year with no rebates to speak of, but still maintains a spot in the top ten states for solar. The state’s RPS (with solar carve-out) and tax incentives are some of the best, most long-lasting ways to promote solar. Good on ya, New Mexico.
2015 New Mexico Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

11

Delaware Delaware
Score: 3.4/5

7

In Delaware, a strong RPS and a great solar carve-out equal great rebates and great SREC payments. And the state’s commitment to continuing good solar policy means solar is a sure and solid investment, too. But a nice tax credit could reverse the trend here and send Delaware back to the top 5!
2015 Alaska Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

12

Caifornia California
Score: 3.4/5

California is a place that sets benchmarks for solar power programs. With one of the best and earliest RPS laws in the country, it has done more than any other state to promote solar energy. In fact, solar has done so well here that some of the amazing rebate offers of the past have gone away, but California still earns a spot near the top ten for its excellent policy, incentives, and accessibility rules.
California-State-Report-Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

13

New-Hampshire New Hampshire
Score: 3.4/5

uparrow 8

New Hampshire is the epitome of an A state. A good RPS, high electricity prices, good rebates and tax policy, and a good payback timeframe mean that New Hampshire residents can be sure that their state is serious about promoting renewable energy and holding utility companies accountable for sourcing it from homeowners around the state.
2015 New Hampshire Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

14

Washington-DC Washington D.C.
Score: 3.3/5

8

Washington D.C. is a special place for solar, with neighborhood groups banding together to buy in bulk, solid rebates, a property tax incentive, and one of the best SREC markets in the country. DC also has one of the best payback timeframes and a great rate of return, making solar a great investment. Bravo, Federal City!
2015 Washington D.C. Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

15

Nevada Nevada
Score: 3.1/5

uparrow 4

Nevada is that sunny state that’s doing things right when it comes to solar. A strong RPS with a solar-specific carve out and a broad variety of incentive programs show the state’s commitment to helping homeowners go solar now and in the future. That kind of commitment deserves a reward. Can we take you out for ice cream, Nevada?
2015 Nevada Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

16

Wisconsin Wisconsin
Score: 3.1/5

uparrow 12

Look at Wisconsin in the top 20 states for solar! Other states with middling RPS laws could learn a few things from Wisconsin’s sweet incentive programs. A new solar power system in the Badger State can pay itself back relatively quickly and save homeowners some cheddar that they can spend on… well, cheddar, for example. And beer. Mmmmmm, beer.
2015 Wisconsin Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

17

Hawaii Hawaii
Score: 2.8/5

uparrow 1

What can we say about Hawaii? It’s so sunny and the electricity is so expensive that going solar seems like a no-brainer. That’s if you can get hooked into the grid (we’ve heard some Hawaii horror stories). If your tolerance for bureaucracy is high, there might not be a better place in the world to put solar panels on your roof.
2015 Hawaii Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

18

Montana Montana
Score: 2.8/5

uparrow 2

Montana is holding strong near the top third of this list, with good rebates and tax exemptions available, driven by a quality RPS that’s an anomaly in the great plains states. Now is the perfect time for Montana to change the game by throwing down a sweet solar carve out to drive future growth in distributed clean energy resources. Go, Montana!
2015 Montana Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

19

Arizona Arizona
Score: 2.7/5

12

Arizona is one of the country’s biggest success stories for early solar policy, but the boom times of the past several years are slowly going away, with rebate programs running dry and no new RPS standards. Arizona is still a great place to go solar—don’t get us wrong—but there’s an opportunity for the state to be a leader in the next wave of renewable energy policy.
Arizona-State-Report-Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

20

Rhode-Island Rhode Island
Score: 2.6/5

uparrow 15

Rhode Island is teetering on the edge of being a great state for solar (like many of its eastern-seaboard sisters) and being a failure. On one hand, the tax exemptions are decent and there is a brand-new performance payments program that could be good. On the other hand, the RPS is average and there are no rebates or tax credits available. Time will tell, and we’ll keep you up to date next year.
2015 Rhode Island Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

21

Ohio Ohio
Score: 2.5/5

5

Ohio took a step back this year on solar policy, pushing its already-weak RPS standards back two years. The state earns a C+ based almost exclusively on its tax exemptions and good net metering policy. Solar remains an average investment in Ohio, where it could be great with a serious retooling of the state’s RPS.
2015 Ohio Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

22

Illinois Illinois
Score: 2.4/5

12

We want to give Illinois a better grade, but a lottery-based grant program and no statewide tax credit make it a C+ state, no doubt about it. Going solar in Illinois is literally a gamble because of that grant lottery (it’s the difference between solar being a good investment and an average one), and lawmakers in Springfield need to do a little more to promote solar on an even playing field for all homeowners, statewide.
2015 Illinois Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

23

Iowa Iowa
Score: 2.4/5

uparrow 8

For a state with so many wind turbines churning up so much energy, Iowa does a remarkably decent job of encouraging solar power. It’s almost like they know all that good farmland wouldn’t be as good covered in soot or fracked out of existence. Tax credits and exemptions in Iowa make it a good place to put solar on your house, with decent payback timeframe and above-average rate of return.
2015 Iowa Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

24

Florida Florida
Score: 2.4/5

1

There is hope for Sunshine State homeowners who want to go solar, but not because of much of anything the state has done to encourage it. A few local utilities’ rebate programs and the lack of a state income tax get part of the way there, and the property and sales tax exemptions for solar panels go the rest of the way.
2015 Florida Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

25

North-Carolina North Carolina
Score: 2.4/5

11

North Carolina is in an interesting place for solar policy right now. There is perhaps no other state at such a critical juncture. The state’s excellent tax credit will expire at the end of 2015, and rebates are small and hard to come by. Without some action in the next year, North Carolina—long a regional leader in solar power—could be getting a D or an F in our 2016 rankings.
2015 North Carolina Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

26

Washington Washington
Score: 2.4/5

uparrow 8

Washington state is right in the middle of the rainy northwest, and it’s also right in the middle of our list. With the right variables, solar can be a great investment here right now, but lawmakers have done only an average job of promoting it. A simple property tax exemption would really do a lot here in a state that already has decent incentives.
2015 Washington Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

27

Alaska Alaska
Score: 2.3/5

uparrow 9

Alaska, you lucked in to this C grade because you don’t tax your citizens and because your electricity is so expensive. It’s good to see the allowance for property tax exemptions, but nearly everything else in the state screams “Solar? No!” Thing is, Alaska sees enough sun—even sometimes at midnight—to take advantage of solar power. Why not start with a good RPS and see where that takes you?
Alaska-State-Report-Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

28

Maine Maine
Score: 2.3/5

2

Maine is a state with a good RPS and virtually no other statewide renewable energy policy. If you get your system on the grid, things are great in the Pine Tree State, but Maine won’t help you nearly as much as its neighbors to the south and west. Good fences might make good neighbors, but why don’t you take some good across-the-fence advice from New Hampshire and start offering a couple of incentives for homeowners who want to produce clean, reliable power?
2015 Maine Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

29

Indiana Indiana
Score: 2.1/5

2

Oh, Indiana. With your voluntary RPS and your lack of rebates and tax credits, you look like a D state. Oh wait, are those property and sales tax exemptions? And good net accessibility rules, too? Well, that’s a decent start, so we’ll give you a C for trying, but we need to see some progress toward more aggressive standards, or we’ll have to hold you back a year, and we know you don’t want to be in the same class as your little cousin West Virginia.
2015 Indiana Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

30

Missouri Missouri
Score: 2.0/5

6

Missouri comes in at the low end of average, just scraping its way out of a D because of a few local utility rebates. When those go the way of the dinosaurs (and they will, without help from the legislature), Missouri will deserve that D. As it stands, solar is a pretty sweet investment if you’re in the right part of the state.
2015 Missouri Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

31

Kansas Kansas
Score: 1.9/5

uparrow 8

What’s the matter with Kansas? Well, even with a decent RPS and a sweet, sweet property tax exemption, solar is still languishing in the Sunflower State. The state house and senate would do a lot of good with a simple bill to give tax credits to homeowners who go solar, but as of now, Kansas gets the first D in our list.
2015 Kansas Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

32

Texas Texas
Score: 1.9/5

3

Texas coasts into a high D in our survey, based on some good local utility rebate programs, a property tax exemption,  and not having a state income tax. But should the largest state in the lower 48 settle for coasting into anything? No! Strap on your spurs, Texas legislators, and get the solar horse a-galloping! Yee-haw! Or, just… y’know, do your jobs and pass laws that encourage smart residential solar energy development.
2015 Texas Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

33

Utah Utah
Score: 1.9/5

8

Utah has what looks to be a great RPS, until you see that word; “voluntary.” If you’re just asking the electric utilities if they’d like to turn energy generation and money making over to homeowners, they’ll say “no” almost every time. Even still, two Utah utilities offer decent rebates—for now—and it’s enough to drag the state out of a failing grade. We want more for you, Utah, we really do. With your great net metering and interconnection laws, you could be a contender! But you gotta stop just asking for renewable energy and put some strong alternative compliance payments in place. Thanks, Utah. I’m glad we had this talk.
2015 Utah Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

34

Pennsylvania Pennsylvania
Score: 1.9/5

17

Congratulations, Pennsylvania, you’re the biggest loser on our list! We know dropping seventeen spots wasn’t easy, but you did it with style. But seriously, this is what a weak RPS gets you: disappearing solar rebates and a languishing SREC market means the solar picture is a lot less bright this year than last. The Keystone state’s legislature has been playing good cop to the utility companies and bad cop to homeowners. That needs to change.
2015 Pennsylvania Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

35

Tennessee Tennessee
Score: 1.9/5

uparrow 6

Tennessee is like a riddle wrapped in an enigma and fried in butter. Dang, getting this far on the list must be making us hungry. Anyway, even with no RPS to speak of, the big electric utility, TVA, is still offering some pretty nice rebates and performance payments. With a couple of legislative successes, the Volunteer state could be a great place for solar. Now who wants to volunteer to take us out to lunch? We haven’t eaten since that ice cream we shared with Nevada.
2015 Tennessee Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

36

Michigan Michigan
Score: 1.7/5

uparrow 1

Even cold and snowy Michigan gets enough sun all year ’round to make solar a good investment, but the state legislature can’t quite commit to helping homeowners grab that gold. The missing incentives are the big problem here. If Michigan had a good SREC market and tax exemptions, we might see a photovoltaic boom in the old rust belt.
2015 Michigan Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

37

South-Carolina South Carolina
Score: 1.6/5

5

South Carolina comes in with a D despite having one of the best solar tax credits in the nation. The state’s RPS standards are laughable, but the tax credits and performance payments manage to make solar a good investment. A glimmer of hope! If the state enacted a more aggressive RPS and offered tax exemptions, it’d be flying high with an A grade.
2015 South Carolina Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

38

Louisiana Louisiana
Score: 1.4/5

8

Louisiana drops 8 spots this year to a low D. It’s been another year of inaction on solar policy for the legislature, and that ain’t good, folks. With its knock-your-socks-off amazing tax credit, Louisiana is near the top for payback timeframe and ROI for solar, but without any solid policy to back that up, Louisiana would earn a Fat Tuesday-sized F.
2015 Louisiana Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

39

South-Dakota South Dakota
Score: 1.4/5

uparrow 3

South Dakota isn’t nearly as bad as its sister to the north, but only because it gets a default A for having no state income tax. About the only thing South Dakota does right is offer a decent property tax exemption. All in all, the state is lucky to come out with a low D in our rankings.
2015 South Dakota Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

40

Georgia Georgia
Score: 1.3/5

uparrow 5

Georgia is the first state in this list that receives a failing grade; the best of the lousiest, if you will. Georgia has no RPS, and it shows in the middling incentive options available. Without a strong law with strict requirements, Georgia will continue to be among the worst states for solar, even though it gets a great deal of daily sun.
2015 Georgia Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

41

Virginia Virginia
Score: 1.1/5

8

Virginia is languishing near the bottom of our list, dropping 8 spots from last year, into failing territory. With a shoddy RPS, it’s no surprise that there are no statewide incentives for solar in the Old Dominion. But with decent net metering and interconnection policy, a strong RPS could jump-start Virginia’s languishing solar industry by causing the utility companies to wake up and offer incentives.
2015 Virginia Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

42

North-Dakota North Dakota
Score: 0.9/5

uparrow 6

North Dakota jumped six spots on our list this year, but an F is an F, and North Dakota earns this one by offering a weak voluntary RPS and giving almost no incentives for solar installations. You can’t frack your way out of this problem, NoDak.
2015 North Dakota Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

43

Mississippi Mississippi
Score: 0.8/5

uparrow 6

Mississippi fails at nearly every aspect of solar policy. In fact, its only incentives for solar come from another state’s utility company! At the very least, Mississippi should follow the lead of Louisiana and use some of the federal disaster relief money it has received to offer a tax credit that encourages new construction with solar installations.
2015 Mississippi Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

44

Nebraska Nebraska
Score: 0.8/5

1

Nebraska gets as much sun as Texas and southern California, but without any push from the state legislature to promote solar energy there is little reason to go solar here. From the nonexistent RPS to the laughable tax credit, Nebraska has a lot of work to do.
2015 Nebraska Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

45

Wyoming Wyoming
Score: 0.8/5

1

Lawmakers in the Cowboy State have really dropped the lasso on this one. Virtually every Wyoming resident could save money with solar if the right incentives were in place. Unfortunately, without an RPS, the start-up costs and payback timeframe lag way behind here..
2015 Wyoming Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

46

Kentucky Kentucky
Score: 0.7/5

6

With no RPS and minimal incentive options, Kentucky earns a sorry F in our survey. Considering its decent net metering rules, a strong RPS would go a long way toward getting Kentuckians off the old fuels and on to the best power source there is.
2015 Kentucky Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

47

West-Virginia West Virginia
Score: 0.6/5

9

West Virginia has the worst payback timeframe and IRR of any state on the list, and with a dismal voluntary RPS and no incentives to speak of, the state is only saved from the bottom of our list by decent net metering and interconnection laws.
2015 West Virginia Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

48

Alabama Alabama
Score: 0.6/5

2

Alabama is yet another state with plenty of sun that fails at promoting clean, reliable solar power. With no legislative action, homeowners hungry for solar are left with few options in Alabama.
Alabama-State-Report-Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

49

Oklahoma Oklahoma
Score: 0.5/5

uparrow 2

Last year we ranked Oklahoma dead last for solar in the USA. Don’t let the two-position bump fool you; Oklahoma could still have qualified for dead last, but for the rejiggering of our calculations. With a payback timeline and policy as bad as anywhere, Oklahoma deserves this F. Oklahoma lawmakers should act Sooner (sorry, list fatigue), rather than later, to enact laws to promote residential solar.
2015 Oklahoma Solar Power Report Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

50

Arkansas Arkansas
Score: 0.4/5

Arkansas has consistently ranked near last place for policy and payback. This year saw little change for the state, with no new laws or incentives. That’s a shame in a place that enjoys as much daily sun as big parts of Florida and California.
Arkansas-State-Report-Card
RANK STATE/SCORE TREND COMMENTARY

51

Idaho Idaho
Score: 0.3/5

4

How bad is Idaho for solar? Well, on a ranking of the states, it didn’t even make the top 50. Idaho lawmakers have some serious work to do to promote solar power in the state. The good news is, with a little legislative action, things can turn around quick.
2015 Idaho Solar Power Report Card

 

The methods to our madness:

We ranked our states based on the following criteria:

PieChart2

 

We’ll cover each part of the ranking, starting at the top right, and explain why we did what we did:

 

Solar Policy State Solar Policy, 20%

A state’s Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) sets the tone for everything else in the state as it regards solar policy, so we made sure this category was more important than all others. States with aggressive RPS laws and solar-specific requirements (carve-outs) within those laws end up with better incentives. Under an RPS, utility companies are responsible to hit targets for renewable energy generation or pay fines to the state if they fail to. The stronger the requirements and penalties, the more money the utility companies offer to homeowners to avoid paying high fees.

Electricity Costs Electricity Cost, 15%

Let’s be honest, a lot of the profit from solar (and there is profit) comes from avoiding paying high cost of electricity. In a state with above-average electricity costs, homeowners recoup their investment in solar panels a lot faster than in states with cheap power.

Rebates and Tax CreditsTax ExemptionsPerformance Payments Solar Incentives, 45%

Rebates, tax credits, sales and property tax exemptions, and performance payments fall under this category. Incentives happen either through legislative action (tax policy) or from utilities hoping to avoid those high RPS-compliance fees. Each of these incentive types is weighted in our survey based on its relative ability to bring down initial costs or quicken the pace at which the solar power system pays for itself.

Payback and IRR Payback and Internal Rate of Return, 10%

These measures of a state’s solar awesomeness mostly follow directly from the results of the rest of the categories, but some states do extraordinarily well even considering their relative lack of solar-friendliness. We added these criteria to the mix to take that into account.

Accessibility Rules Net Metering and Interconnection, 10%

These rules have to do with how easy and/or expensive it is to get a solar power system hooked up to the grid.

Grading

Once we determined how well the states met the criteria, we set our grades based on the top and bottom scores, to ensure an even distribution of A’s, B’s, C’s, D’s, and F’s. That’s right, we graded on a curve!

To learn more about any of the criteria, we invite you to click on your state of residence in the right sidebar. The state pages contain further explanation and in-depth information about each of the criteria represented in the pie chart above.

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15 thoughts on “2015 United States Solar Power Rankings

  1. Katrena Davis says:

    Thank You.

  2. r hatfield says:

    in 2015, Kansas City Missouri put in solar in approx 69 government buildings. So either you are wrong about Missouri not allowing Solar leasing or it is allowed only in certain cities or maybe just the government can do it.

  3. Leesa says:

    NV needs reevaluation! the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada issued an extremely anti-solar ruling that goes against everything Nevadans stand for.

  4. Ricardo Teamor says:

    Georgia will definitely move up in rankings since they have got approval for third party ownership and PPA, for solar. They will make all the efforts to move up in rankings.

  5. David Spears says:

    can i get solar panels in kentucky?

  6. Deirdre Macnab says:

    I don’t see solar installations per capita…I would have thought that would be a key indicator. pls advise.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Georgia just got approved for third party ownership and PPA, for solar. With that in mind will it move up in the rankings?

    1. Ben Zientara says:

      It might! We’ve also recently written a blog post about the new changes to Georgia law. It’s very exciting that this sunny southern state is finally taking a positive step toward solar energy!

  8. Anonymous says:

    are you sure that the state of Florida allows leasing? third-party ownership is limited. A capital lease for commercial entities is possible, but the standard contract length for this type of sale does not necessarily work.

  9. Anonymous says:

    if each states’ RPS used the same ruler so to speak comparing them would be more meaningful.

  10. Anonymous says:

    How does New York receive an A+ when the performance payments received an F?

  11. Anonymous says:

    So I live in NH where we got an F in Tax Credits. We have no state sales or income tax. Is that taken into account ? What’s to credit ?

  12. Anonymous says:

    I would like to know if this saves you ALOT of money or no.

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