What Are the Top Ten Solar States?

SolarReviews lists the Top 20 Solar States in their 2011 review (2012 review did not provide a top state list). We were disappointed to see that Hawaii didn’t make the cut! But why is that? Does this data accurately reflect ‘the top solar states’ as it suggests? After a closer look at the data collection process, The Solar Foundation ranks the states by the number of solar jobs in the state. This is of course going to be skewed by many contextual factors, but state size alone will make a significant difference. Other factors, such as the amount of sun the state typically gets and the development of the solar industry in the state would have been interesting to consider to fully understand the true ‘top solar’ states, but ranking simply by number of jobs doesn’t paint an accurate picture. Studies like this aimed at showing the growth and opportunity of the solar job sector are important, but infographics like this unfortunately provide no useful information without appropriate context.

Now let’s compare this to more recent data compiled by SEIA 2012 infographic. By putting the data into perspetive and context Hawaii ranks #3 for solar watts per capita and 7th overall. Now that’s more like it! The study even breaks down each state with shareable graphics, each with fun facts about each state users can tweet and share. Hawaii’s for example, gets a greater percentage of electricity from solar than any other state.

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According to this study, in 2012, the U.S. solar industry installed 3.3 GW of solar capacity, growing 76% over 2011’s total. We are excited to have been part of this immense growth in solar and proud of our Aloha State with it’s ranking in the Top 10!