Arizona Has Highest Amount Of Solar Energy Per Person

August 05, 2014

(KJZZ file photo)
Revenue from solar projects could support local budgets and conservation funds.

A new report ranks Arizona as having the highest amount of solar energy per person in 2013, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the state is leading the country in solar policy.

The ranking takes the total amount of megawatts generated by both residential and commercial solar panels and divides it by the state’s population. So although the state ranks first in per capita solar, California leads by nearly 4000 megwatts in total solar power. Bret Fanshaw is with Environment Arizona, a group that contributed to the report. He said state policy encourages rooftop solar.   

“If you put solar on your roof you are mostly providing for your individual needs," Fanshaw said. "So charging your car, making coffee, doing laundry that sort of stuff."

Fanshaw said the increase in rooftop panels coincides with the dropping price of installation. Arizona has a Renewable Energy Standard of 15 percent clean energy by 2025, which is low compared to other states with similar sunlight.

California has a standard of 33 percent of renewable energy by 2020 and Colorado has 30 percent by the same year. Meanwhile, some cities are reaching for more clean energy. Tempe Spokesperson Amanda Nelson said the city set its own renewable energy goal independently of the state.

“The goal as we said is 20 percent of our municipal operations of the energy will come from renewable energy by 2025,” said Nelson. 

Nelson said the majority of that will be from solar. The 10 states with the most solar energy account for nearly 90 percent of the nation’s total solar power.