The 5 Best States for a Solar-Powered Home

Jess Lynk
Written by Jess Lynk
Updated September 2, 2021
The exterior of a house with solar panels on its roof
Patricia Hamilton/Moment via Getty Images

The best states for solar energy, from Arizona to Florida

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Solar energy is a phenomenal way to save money and the environment. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the cost to install solar panels has dropped by more than 70% over the last decade, meaning solar energy is more accessible than ever. Although the sun can be harnessed for renewable energy in any area, these five states have ideal conditions and the best infrastructure for local solar panel installation.  

5 Best States for Solar Energy

Installing solar panels and introducing solar energy into your home is an eco-friendly decision that will pay off over time. It helps save you money through financial returns and lower utility bills. Not only is it good for the environment, but it’s good for your wallet. 

Installing a solar panel system costs an average of $24,370, but it’s a great long-term investment for homeowners and a selling point for buyers. Here’s a look at the five best states for solar energy, solar panel cost, ROI, and more.

1. California

California consistently ranks at the top of solar energy lists for good reason. With mostly sunny days, it’s a prime state for solar power to boom. Recently, the United States government invested $550 million for solar energy in the state, making it one of the best states as far as solar energy goes. 

Solar provides more than 20% of electricity to the state of California, and that number is rising. The cost to install solar panels in California is $19,000–$32,700.

Solar Facts About California

Here’s a look at California solar energy facts, courtesy of SEIA:

  • Time to see return on investment: 5.5–6.5 years

  • Enough solar installed to power 8,548,370 homes

  • Solar companies in state: 2,144

2. Texas

Texas is unique in the fact that it has its own power grid, making it a prime candidate to become the best state for solar energy. Because Texas does not regulate its electric utilities, there is a lot of variation in solar incentives depending on where you live. 

However, the Texas economy is growing fast, so the state needs renewable energy to match that growth. The cost to install solar panels in Texas is $22,800–$37,700.

Solar Facts About Texas

Here’s a look at Texas solar energy facts, courtesy of SEIA:

  • Time to see return on investment: 7.5–9.1 years

  • Enough solar installed to power 1,082,407 homes

  • Percentage of state's electricity from solar: 2.27%

3. North Carolina

solar panels roof white house
Steven Puetzer/The Image Bank via Getty Images

North Carolina is a popular state for solar energy. In 2017, North Carolina allowed solar leasing, which allows you to forego upfront installation costs and just pay a monthly “rental” fee. This means installing solar panels is even easier. 

With 7.52% of the state’s electricity coming from solar energy, this state’s renewable energy program is small, but growing quickly. The cost to install solar panels in North Carolina is $24,500–$52,330.

Solar Facts About North Carolina

Here’s a look at North Carolina solar energy facts, courtesy of SEIA:

  • Time to see return on investment: 9.7–11.9 years

  • Enough solar installed to power 859,707 homes

  • Solar companies in state: 204

4. Florida

Nicknamed the sunshine state, it's no surprise that Florida ranks high in solar energy. With only 3% of the state’s electricity coming from solar energy, renewable energy is quickly growing. Florida also offers property tax exemption and sales tax exemption for solar panels. The cost to install solar panels in Florida is $19,580–$30,340.

Solar Facts About Florida

Here’s a look at Florida solar energy facts, courtesy of SEIA:

  • Time to see return on investment: 11.9–14.5 years

  • Enough solar installed to power 842,897 homes

  • Solar companies in state: 411

5. Arizona

Last on the list is Arizona, the sunniest state in the United States. Although fifth on the list, 8% of the state’s electricity comes from solar energy. Recently, the state government rolled back incentives, which has impacted solar in the state, but the potential is there. The cost to install solar panels in Arizona is $18,700–$32,900.

Solar Facts About Arizona

Here’s a look at Arizona solar energy facts, courtesy of SEIA:

  • Time to see return on investment: 7.1–8.7 years

  • Enough solar installed to power 810,751 homes

  • Solar companies in state: 315

Whether you live in one of the best states for solar energy or not, harnessing the power of the sun can be an environmentally friendly, money-saving choice for homeowners.

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