15 Cities Investing the Most in Solar Energy

Family looking at solar panels for home solar energy
anatoliy_gleb / Shutterstock.com

This story originally appeared on Porch.

The U.S. solar industry has grown significantly in the last decade as solar power has become more affordable, efficient and accessible. Since 2014, the cost of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels has dropped by almost 50%.

The U.S. now has over 2 million solar PV installations, which produce enough electricity each year to power more than 12 million homes. According to data from Google’s Project Sunroof, the share of solar-viable buildings that have a solar installation in the U.S. is a mere 1.2%, but many cities boast much larger percentages.

While solar energy has come down greatly in cost, price is still a barrier to many U.S. households who want to invest in rooftop solar. To help offset the installation cost, a federal solar tax credit allows taxpayers to deduct 26% of the cost of installing a solar energy system. Additionally, many states offer solar rebates for home solar energy systems. California even mandates that new construction homes have a solar PV system.

To determine the cities investing the most in solar energy, researchers at Porch, a marketplace for home services, analyzed the latest data on small-scale rooftop solar installations from Google’s Project Sunroof. The researchers ranked cities according to the share of viable buildings with solar.

Researchers also looked at the total number of buildings with solar, the share of all buildings that are solar-viable, the total buildings that are solar-viable and the median annual solar potential per viable roof. For context, the average annual electricity consumption for an American home is 10,972 kilowatt-hours per year.

Here are the large cities (populations more than 350,000) investing the most in solar.

15. Long Beach, California

Long Beach, California
Idealphotographer / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of viable buildings with solar: 1.6%
  • Total buildings with solar: 1,469
  • Share of all buildings that are solar-viable: 84.3%
  • Total buildings that are solar-viable: 91,992
  • Median annual solar potential per viable roof: 10,353 kilowatt-hours

14. Sacramento, California

Sacramento, California
Andrew Zarivny / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of viable buildings with solar: 2.2%
  • Total buildings with solar: 2,860
  • Share of all buildings that are solar-viable: 89.4%
  • Total buildings that are solar-viable: 131,992
  • Median annual solar potential per viable roof: 15,653 kilowatt-hours

13. Phoenix

Phoenix, Arizona
f11photo / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of viable buildings with solar: 2.4%
  • Total buildings with solar: 10,487
  • Share of all buildings that are solar-viable: 96.3%
  • Total buildings that are solar-viable: 429,903
  • Median annual solar potential per viable roof: 22,721 kilowatt-hours

12. Aurora, Colorado

Aurora, Colorado
Steve Lagreca / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of viable buildings with solar: 2.5%
  • Total buildings with solar: 1,956
  • Share of all buildings that are solar-viable: 88.8%
  • Total buildings that are solar-viable: 77,120
  • Median annual solar potential per viable roof: 11,859 kilowatt-hours

11. Las Vegas

Las Vegas homes
trekandshoot / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of viable buildings with solar: 2.5%
  • Total buildings with solar: 3,093
  • Share of all buildings that are solar-viable: 96.5%
  • Total buildings that are solar-viable: 124,293
  • Median annual solar potential per viable roof: 18,552 kilowatt-hours

10. Los Angeles

The streets of Los Angeles, where median rent is relatively low
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of viable buildings with solar: 2.7%
  • Total buildings with solar: 17,231
  • Share of all buildings that are solar-viable: 82.0%
  • Total buildings that are solar-viable: 647,621
  • Median annual solar potential per viable roof: 12,356 kilowatt-hours

9. Denver

Denver skyline
Andrew Zarivny / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of viable buildings with solar: 2.8%
  • Total buildings with solar: 3,582
  • Share of all buildings that are solar-viable: 72.1%
  • Total buildings that are solar-viable: 129,386
  • Median annual solar potential per viable roof: 9,023 kilowatt-hours

8. Tucson, Arizona

Tucson
Chris Rubino / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of viable buildings with solar: 2.8%
  • Total buildings with solar: 4,437
  • Share of all buildings that are solar-viable: 94.7%
  • Total buildings that are solar-viable: 155,813
  • Median annual solar potential per viable roof: 22,212 kilowatt-hours

7. Oakland, California

Oakland, California
yhelfman / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of viable buildings with solar: 2.9%
  • Total buildings with solar: 2,617
  • Share of all buildings that are solar-viable: 90.2%
  • Total buildings that are solar-viable: 89,195
  • Median annual solar potential per viable roof: 12,450 kilowatt-hours

6. Anaheim, California

rides Paradise Pier Anaheim California reflected lake
James Kirkikis / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of viable buildings with solar: 3.3%
  • Total buildings with solar: 2,133
  • Share of all buildings that are solar-viable: 96.5%
  • Total buildings that are solar-viable: 64,663
  • Median annual solar potential per viable roof: 23,004 kilowatt-hours

5. New Orleans

New Orleans street scene
Michael Rosebrock / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of viable buildings with solar: 3.4%
  • Total buildings with solar: 4,322
  • Share of all buildings that are solar-viable: 94.3%
  • Total buildings that are solar-viable: 126,208
  • Median annual solar potential per viable roof: 17,876 kilowatt-hours

4. Bakersfield, California

Bakersfield, California
Richard Thornton / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of viable buildings with solar: 4.5%
  • Total buildings with solar: 4,607
  • Share of all buildings that are solar-viable: 97.4%
  • Total buildings that are solar-viable: 101,638
  • Median annual solar potential per viable roof: 24,811 kilowatt-hours

3. Fresno, California

Fresno, California
Tupungato / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of viable buildings with solar: 5.1%
  • Total buildings with solar: 6,945
  • Share of all buildings that are solar-viable: 95.6%
  • Total buildings that are solar-viable: 135,515
  • Median annual solar potential per viable roof: 21,795 kilowatt-hours

2. San Diego

The skyline of San Diego, where median rent is well below median mortgage payments
Dancestrokes / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of viable buildings with solar: 5.8%
  • Total buildings with solar: 17,281
  • Share of all buildings that are solar-viable: 94.5%
  • Total buildings that are solar-viable: 300,390
  • Median annual solar potential per viable roof: 19,511 kilowatt-hours

1. San Jose, California

San Jose, California
mTaira / Shutterstock.com
  • Share of viable buildings with solar: 6.4%
  • Total buildings with solar: 13,557
  • Share of all buildings that are solar-viable: 96.6%
  • Total buildings that are solar-viable: 210,786
  • Median annual solar potential per viable roof: 21,543 kilowatt-hours

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