Which state has the best potential for solar energy production?

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    The short answer is: Arizona and New Mexico take the cake for best solar power potential.

    Solar energy needs the sun, but not all states were created equal in this regard. In general, locales closer to the equator generate more potential for more constant, reliable solar power, and climates with less cloud cover benefit greatly as well. States closest to the equator stay sunnier throughout the year, which means more consistent sun and more desirability for solar energy. The Southwest, in this case, is the best.

    Some other high incentive solar states include California, Utah, Colorado, Nevada and Texas. However, Arizona and New Mexico have the largest square mileage of open desert spaces not yet utilized.

    Yet, California is currently the leading state in PV (photovoltaic) power, including both residential and non-residential grids, and by a long shot.

    Hypothetically, if Arizona or New Mexico were to build a solar grid over a certain few hundred square miles of desert, there could be enough solar power to supply the entire U.S. Of course, there are political and economic hurdles to this (it costs four times as much to produce energy from PV panels as from coal and twice as much as wind), as well as further environmental factors to consider, like the impact to the desert environment. But there you have it, Arizona and New Mexico for the win, with California in an unsurprising lead!

    P.S. The federal government offers a 30% tax credit for residential solar panels, and some states offer their own incentives.

     

     

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