1. North Dakota
North Dakota experiences half as many sunny days as California, one stumbling block for why it’s last on this list. Just .01% of the state’s electricity is generated by solar, with a dismal 195 homes powered in some way by solar power. Only eight solar companies operate in the state, so it has a long path ahead for adding renewable energy and solar power. However, the SEIA projects 606 MW of solar installations over the next five years.
2. South Dakota
South Dakota beats its neighbor to the north by the thinnest of margins. The Mount Rushmore State now has 14 solar companies, but only .02% of its electricity comes from solar power. This electricity is enough to power 270 homes. The state’s investment in solar power is just $6 million, far less than the $49 million invested by the next worst state for solar, Alaska.
Alaska ranks third from the bottom in solar generation. Its $49 million investment in solar is significant, but solar generation in the state still remains low. Only .23% of the state’s electricity is sourced by solar. Alaska, one of the cloudiest states in the U.S., is also limited by its seasons. Cities such as Anchorage bathe in sunlight all summer, a big positive for solar, with 19 hours of sunshine each day. However, the state spends most winter months in near-darkness, reducing solar production to near zero.
4. West Virginia
West Virginia has installed a mere 31 MW of solar thus far, with just 19 solar companies operating in the state. The SEIA does not predict huge growth for solar in West Virginia in the coming years, and only .06% of the state’s energy comes from solar. The slow adoption of solar in West Virginia could be attributed to the fact that the state is the second highest producer of coal in the U.S.
Nebraska is another state with very little solar energy growth in recent years. It only has enough solar installed to power 10,090 homes, with just 0.30% of the state’s electricity coming from solar. However, Nebraska has a larger growth expectation, with the SEIA anticipating 1,548 more MW of solar in the next five years. This would boost the state’s ranking from 47th to 32nd.