The solar industry has shown steady growth in the past few years, and one reason is the rising interest of residents looking at solar photovoltaic (PV) equipment, reported the Liberty Voice. Renewable energy sources are gaining popularity, and education on how systems work, while debunking myths, has increased Americans' knowledge on solar power.
The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) recently released a new infographic ranking the top 10 solar states in the U.S. by investigating how many megawatts of solar were added, and each state's total capacity.
Here are the top three states for solar power:
There's no real surprise that California leads the U.S. in solar, and it's a great example of how renewable energy can be a viable option. According to the SEIA, California installed 2,745.8 megawatts in 2013, which is the equivalent of powering 607,689 homes. The state installed half of all its solar capacity in 2013, which, according to Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Spectrum, as of March 7, 2014, pushed the total solar capacity to more than 5.2 gigawatts setting a new record for solar power generation.
California has several solar initiatives to get residents and businesses involved in the industry. According to the source, the state has a goal to reach 33 percent renewable energy by 2020.
"This shows that California is making remarkable progress in not only getting new resources approved and connected to the grid, but making meaningful contributions in keeping the lights on as well," Steve Berberich, president and CEO of the California Independent System Operator, said in a statement, according to IEEE Spectrum.
While the second-place state has an estimated 2,000 MW less than California, Arizona is still becoming a leader in new solar power production. According to SEIA, Arizona installed 700.7 MW of new solar energy in 2013, which is the equivalent of powering 126,894 homes in the state.
Arizona's total electricity generated by solar panels in 2014 will save enough water to fill 25,000 swimming pools. While solar power is helping the state save on energy bills, it's also saving massive amounts of water in an area that is prone to droughts and water conversation mandates.
Arizona also saw the second-most clean energy jobs created during the fourth quarter of 2013, reported Environmental Entrepreneurs, according to KTAR-FM.
"For all of 2013, we saw more than 78,000 clean energy and clean transportation jobs announced in almost every state in the country," Bob Keefe, the communications director for E2, told KTAR-FM. "These are jobs that are everything from making the parts to installations, companies and big utility grade solar farms that you're seeing across Arizona these days."
3. North Carolina
One of the fastest-growing states in solar energy is North Carolina, and it installed 335.4 MW in 2013, which is the equivalent of powering 31,809 homes, reported SEIA. Data centers are growing extremely popular in North Carolina, and the amount of energy produced in 2013 was enough to power 213,000 computers.
There is no single reason behind the continuing growth of solar in North Carolina. Rather, a number of factors such as adequate policies, a responsive industry and research and development expertise in the state are attracting significant solar investment, reported The Energy Collective.
North Carolina is seeing industries such as universities, the growing military presence and the increasing high tech commerce take off in the state. Solar energy is available to take advantage of these growing industries and power them in an eco-friendly way. According to the source, many North Carolinians are realizing how solar can help as the state continues to build from its early achievements amid a recovering economy.
To learn more on how towns across the nation are benefiting by installing solar power systems, visit SunWize's website.