Global Solar Center: Lagging States Become Solar Leaders

Global Solar Center has conducted a 50-state survey of solar incentives and adoption, which has revealed surprising results:

  • New Jersey, not California, has the most generous incentives for solar power in the nation.
  • With a combination of city, state, and local incentives, homes and businesses in New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Colorado can make all their money back from a solar installation in three years.
  • The new hot market for solar electricity is Pennsylvania with incentives covering 60 percent of the installation cost.
  • Solar hot water is now a one-year payback in Florida and southern Texas.
While California continues to be a leader in solar installations, other states and cities — many from unexpected regions — are rising up as solar powerhouses. New Jersey, Pennsylvania and others are throwing fuel on the solar fire with generous incentives that are driving adoption at faster rates per capita than California.

Global Solar Center's survey found that, in 2008, the global solar market increased 50 percent and the United States advanced to third position globally. Additionally, the market demand for solar power has grown an average of 30 percent per year for the last five years.

The U.S. government has just changed its solar tax credit to a solar grant, funded by the federal stimulus bill. Additionally, hundreds of states and municipalities have launched their own incentives on top of this federal grant.

"With incentives on the federal, state and local level along with the support and expertise offered by our members, this is a great time to go solar," said Monique Hanis, spokesperson for the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) in Washington, D.C. The challenge for solar now is in the installation market. Consumers trying to go solar are often uncomfortable with the technology. They also are not well informed on government incentives, which means they cannot determine their cash payback on their solar investment. Finally, with very little name brand recognition, and thousands of installers of variable quality, people don't know who to trust and where to receive accurate information.

"The renewable energy industry in its present state is extremely fragmented and changing rapidly. Customers want to lower their bills but are confused as to where to go and who to trust. Global Solar Center offers unbiased, reliable information, free quotes and a network of qualified installers to get the job done," says Global Solar Center Chair Jack D. Hidary.

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