Solar capacity by state 2023
In 2022, the United States had a total electricity generation of approximately 4.23 trillion kilowatt-hours at utility-scale power generation facilities, with renewable energy sources contributing roughly 21% of this total and solar power specifically making up 3.4% of the generated electricity.
Since 2010, solar power capacity in the United States has been consistently increasing. In 2022, however, there was a decline in the addition of utility-scale solar capacity compared with the previous year. This decrease was attributed to disruptions in the supply chain and pandemic-related challenges. It is anticipated that some of the delayed projects from 2022 will become operational in 2023. Developers plan to install 29.1 gigawatts (GW) of solar power in the U.S. during 2023, potentially setting a new record for the highest annual increase in utility-scale solar capacity.
It is estimated that in 2023, solar power will account for 54% of all new utility-scale electric-generating capacity in the U.S.
- Montana experienced the most significant surge in net generation from solar PV energy over the past year, with more than a 244% increase from July 2022 to July 2023.
- Nevada leads the way when weighing net solar PV generation by the state’s population, with 32.5 thousand megatwatt hours per 100K people.
- California has set a goal of achieving 100% clean energy by 2045.
- Since 2021, Florida, California and Texas have consistently ranked as the top states for solar PV installations.
Top states for generating solar power
As of July 2023, California stands at the forefront in net generation from solar photovoltaic (PV) energy when measuring combined output from both utility-scale and small-scale facilities.
Based on July 2023 data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the top 10 states in net generation of solar PV power are:
- North Carolina
- New York
However, Montana experienced the most significant surge in net generation from solar PV energy over the past year, with more than a 244% increase from July 2022 to July 2023.
In fact, a total of 11 states saw a net solar energy generation increase of over 50% compared with the previous year. These states were Montana, Washington, Indiana, Kentucky, Idaho, Delaware, Colorado, Ohio, Wisconsin, North Dakota and Louisiana.
Net generation from solar PV (thousand megawatt hours)
|State||July 2023||July 2022||Percent change|
On the other hand, Nevada leads the way when weighing net solar PV generation by the state’s population. The top 10 states in solar PV generation relative to their population, based on 2022 data, are:
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
|State||Net generation from solar PV July 2022 (thousand megawatt hours)||Population 2022||Net generation per 100K people (thousand megawatt hours)|
Detailed solar power generation summaries by state
Solar power capacity is steadily expanding throughout the United States, as more than half of the states now boast 1 gigawatt (GW) or greater of installed solar.
California has set an ambitious goal of achieving 100% clean energy by 2045. The state has been at the forefront of renewable energy generation and solar power generation in particular. In fact, solar power is the primary contributor to California's renewable electricity production. In 2022, solar energy contributed 19% of the state's utility-scale electricity net generation. When adding small-scale generation, solar energy accounted for 27% of the state's total electricity generation.
Texas has become one of the leading states in both solar energy potential and solar power generation. In 2022, it ranked as the nation's second-largest producer of solar power, following California, with solar energy making up approximately 5% of the state's total electricity output. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, by the end of 2023, Texas is expected to become the state with the highest amount of annually installed solar power capacity from utility-scale facilities.
In 2021, renewable sources accounted for approximately 6% of Florida's overall electricity production, with solar energy contributing around 70% of the state's renewable power generation. Utility-scale facilities created approximately 84% of the solar power generated in Florida. Despite the fact that Florida’s solar policies have not advanced as in other states (Florida lacks a renewable portfolio standard and does not permit power purchase agreements), the state ranked third in net solar PV power generation based on July 2023 data.
North Carolina has seen a significant surge in electricity generated from solar energy in the last few years. In 2017, for example, solar energy became the primary source of renewable electricity generation in the state, surpassing conventional hydroelectric power for the first time. North Carolina is now one of the leading states in utility-scale solar generation. The rapid growth of the state's solar industry can be attributed, in part, to its robust state policies and regulatory support, including its Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard.
Nevada has consistently ranked as a leading state in solar energy production, with a multitude of utility-scale, residential and commercial solar initiatives. The state’s share of electricity generation from solar sources has almost tripled since 2016. Solar energy accounted for 23% of Nevada’s overall electricity generation in 2022 and over 24% in the second quarter of 2023.
For the first time in 2017, solar power generation surpassed hydroelectric power generation as the number one source of renewable energy in Arizona. In 2022, 17% of Arizona’s total electricity generation came from renewable sources. Nearly 60% of this renewable energy came from solar PV and solar thermal sources when measuring combined outputs from both utility-scale and small-scale solar facilities.
Over the past few years, there has been a notable increase in the production of solar power in Georgia. From 2019 to 2021, combined electricity generation from both utility-scale and small-scale solar PV sources more than doubled. In 2021, solar energy accounted for more than 33% of the state's renewable electricity production. That year, almost all of the solar energy came from utility-scale facilities. As of July 2023, Georgia ranked seventh in net solar PV power generation among all U.S. states.
New York has consistently ranked among the top states for solar markets. The state has implemented policies aimed at encouraging investments in solar energy, such as net metering and the Long Island Power Authority's feed-in tariff. By the second quarter of 2023, New York had an installed solar capacity of 4,717 megawatts (MW), accounting for 4.75% of the state’s electric generation. New York aims to reach a solar energy installed capacity of 5,000 MW by 2025.
In 2021, nearly 10% of Virginia's total electricity generation came from renewable resources. Solar energy accounted for 4% of all renewable energy generation that year, mostly coming from utility-scale facilities. Between July 2022 and July 2023, the state’s net generation from solar PV increased by almost 23%. Dominion Energy Virginia, the state’s largest utility company, has proposed more than a dozen new solar projects that will add 772 MW to the state’s current generation capacity.
Renewables contributed almost 30% of Massachusetts' electricity generation in 2021, mostly coming from solar energy sources. Small-scale solar PV systems made up nearly 66% of the state's total solar capacity that year. On the other hand, more than 190 MW of capacity have been added from utility-scale facilities since January 2021. In July 2023, Massachusetts was ranked as the tenth state in net solar PV power generation.
Top 10 states with the highest percentage of electricity from solar
Based on data from the second quarter of 2023, the states that generate the largest percentage of their total electricity from solar are:
- California: 27.73%
- Nevada: 24.35%
- Massachusetts: 21.75%
- Vermont: 20.08%
- Hawaii: 17.69%
- Utah: 12.35%
- Rhode Island: 11.43%
- Arizona: 10.4%
- North Carolina: 9.46%
- Maine: 8.69%
Top 10 states for total power capacity from solar
California, once again, leads the ranking based on cumulative solar electric capacity installed through 2022. The top 10 states by total solar electric capacity are:
- California: 39,729 MW
- Texas: 17,247 MW
- Florida: 10,111 MW
- North Carolina: 8,179 MW
- Arizona: 6,330 MW
- Nevada: 5,366 MW
- Georgia: 5,033 MW
- New Jersey: 4,411 MW
- Virginia: 4,286 MW
- New York: 4,259 MW
Top states for new installs since 2020
Since 2021, Florida, California and Texas have consistently ranked as the top states for solar PV installations. These states are located at lower latitudes, which typically receive greater insolation (defined as the amount of solar radiation received on a specific surface area over a specified period). However, geographic location is just one factor in explaining these rankings, as state policies and local public sentiment play an important role in the adoption of renewable energy sources, including solar power.
State solar PV installation rankings
|2021||2022||2023 (first half)|
The future of solar
Solar power is expected to play a significant role in the future of electricity generation in the U.S. Here are some key points:
- In the next five years, the U.S. solar sector will nearly triple in magnitude. It is estimated that between 2023 and 2028, the solar industry will increase installation capacity by an additional 236 gigawatts-direct current.
- According to a study that the U.S. Department of Energy conducted in 2021, the U.S. is capable of generating 40% of its energy supply from solar power by 2035.
- According to the report, to reach the 40% target by 2035, the U.S. needs to install an average of 30 GW of solar capacity annually between 2021 and 2024, which is double the installation rate from the time the report was released. Subsequently, from 2025 to 2030, the U.S. should aim for an installation rate of 60 GW per year.
Perhaps the most well-known solar government incentive in the U.S. is the investment tax credit (ITC), which is a solar tax credit offered by the federal government. U.S. homeowners can use the ITC to deduct 30% of their solar panel installation expenses from their federal income taxes, with no cap on the total amount deducted.
State and municipal governments, as well as local utility companies, may also offer different forms of incentives to encourage the use of solar PV energy. The below table summarizes the incentives available by state.
|State||Net metering||Property tax exemption||Sales tax exemption|
What state in the U.S. has the largest solar installation capacity?
California leads the list of U.S. states for cumulative solar electric capacity at 39,729 MW installed through 2022.
What state in the U.S. has the largest solar PV generation relative to its population?
Based on 2022 data, Nevada leads the way when weighing net solar PV generation by the state’s population. Nevada’s net solar generation in 2022 was about 32,500 megawatt hours per 100,000 people.
Which states generate the largest percentage of their total electricity from solar?
The three states that generate the largest percentage of their total electricity from solar are California at 27.73% of its total electricity, Nevada at 24.35% and Massachusetts at 21.75%.
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