How does your State Rank for Solar Power in 2015?

new-york-solar-panel-house

When it comes to a solar policy, how does your state rank in 2015?

If you’re in the Northeast, chances are it’s pretty good. New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Vermont, and Maryland scored high marks. Oregon, Colorado, Minnesota, and New Mexico helped round out the top 10.

Those in the South? Not so much. Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Kentucky, and West Virginia came straggling in at the end. Idaho has the worst score this year, with nearly all F’s across the board.

Here is the latest list of pro-solar states by policy, e.g. which states have the best incentives in place for going solar:

  • New York
  • Massachusetts
  • Connecticut
  • Oregon
  • New Jersey
  • Colorado
  • Maryland
  • Minnesota
  • Vermont
  • New Mexico

Surprisingly, notoriously eco-friendly — or sunny — states like California, Arizona, Nevada, and Hawaii just missed the top 10, (despite being in the top 10 solar states on other lists) earning mixed grades on their report cards. This year, New York tops them all, adopting solar power policies and a commitment to solar energy.

Related: Solar Panels in Maryland

While each state’s solar policy counts for a lot, other factors were used to determine rankings, such as solar incentives, electricity cost, rate of return, and net metering. That’s why a state like California, which has the most solar policy in place, is not on the top 10. Although California has had a successful solar rebate program it’s not as crucial anymore, and the list ultimately shows that there are still plenty of states without any kind of program in place to get consumers on board and embracing solar.

A 5kw solar system pays for itself in 10 years…

It’s important to also note that a 5 kW solar system pays for itself within 10 years. So those states that are balking at the cost of solar may want to reconsider and let their homeowners know that while it’s an initially heavy investment, it will absolutely pay off in the long run. And states with strong solar policies in place know that it helps.

Overall, states with aggressive Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) laws and specific requirements for solar in those laws are the ones that have better incentives, because utility companies must hit those renewable energy targets or else pay fines. By holding utility companies responsible to stricter requirements and penalties, the more they offer to homeowners.

As a result, the little guy ends up with both savings on their energy bill and environmentally friendly homes. In states with high electricity costs, this is especially helpful. Likewise, tax credits and rebates assist in bringing down the initial cost of solar, or speed up the pace at which solar can pay for itself.

So what’s it going to take for those states in the bottom half to recognize this and start implementing stronger solar power policies?

How did your state do? Let us know in the comments!

Related Information:

Photo Credit: Flickr via CC license

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