There’s no denying that renewable energy is on the rise in the States. As of December 2022, over 4.6 gigawatts of solar energy has been installed across the nation, producing enough energy to power 24 million homes. According to Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the first three quarters of this year saw renewable energy representing 45% of new electricity generation coming from solar panels with a projected growth rate of 21% per year through 2027 thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).
The Sunshine State has an average of 237 sunny days per year, surpassing the national average of 205 days. That’s one sunny disposition! While Florida is a prime homebase for properties ideal for renewable energy, Florida has just over 9,700 Megawatts of cumulative solar capacity.
However, the capacity of solar energy doesn’t rely strictly on sunny days. In fact, solar panels will continue to absorb ultraviolet light under a cloudy sky. How does this work? Through a conversion of units through physics and math, the radiant exposure of an area can be determined. This is called Kilojoule per square meter, aka KJ/m2. This calculation measures the amount of energy from the sun (in kilojoules) that reaches that point of Earth over a 12-hour period then averaged out into an annual total. All that to say, the amount of kilojoules per square meter can vary depending on geographical location, elevation, weather, landscape and other environmental factors.
Knowing all that, how does Florida rank when it comes to KJ/m2, amount of solar installed and sunny days in comparison to other states? Let’s take a road trip across America to learn more about the top 10 sunniest states and their national solar ranking.
1. ARIZONA: This dreamy dessert of a state takes home the prize for being the leader in both average sunny days and KJ/m2 per year; however, they are second to last in our list of total solar installed throughout the state.
Average Sunny Days: 320 (List Rank: 1)
Average KJ/m2: 5,755 (List Rank: 1)
Total Solar MW Installed: 6,087 (National Rank: 5)
2. NEW MEXICO: It’s no surprise that, with its similar landscape and weather, this state comes in second for sunny days but is greatly lacking in installed solar.
Average Sunny Days: 293 (List Rank: 1)
Average KJ/m2: 5,642 (List Rank: >top 10)
Total Solar MW Installed: 1,467 (National Rank: 19)
3. NEVADA: We’re starting to see a trend here. This state is a sweet spot with 252 sunny days and ranks high on total installations.
Average Sunny Days: 252 (List Rank: 3)
Average KJ/m2: 5,296 (List Rank: 2)
Total Solar MW Installed: 5,040 (National Rank: 6)
4. TEXAS: They do everything big in this state, including being a top solar producer – coming in second for most installations.
Average Sunny Days: 235 (List Rank: 4)
Average KJ/m2: 5,137 (List Rank: 3)
Total Solar MW Installed: 16,173 (National Rank: 2)
5. CALIFORNIA: This state was dreamin’ when they secured the top spot for being number one in solar. With an average of 5,050 KJ/m2, residents are walking on sunshine.
Average Sunny Days: 284 (List Rank: 5)
Average KJ/m2: 5,050 (List Rank: 4)
Total Solar MW Installed: 38,145 (National Rank: 1)
6. COLORADO: Reaching great heights in sunshine, this state sees an average of 300 sunny days annually but isn’t a top producer in solar energy.
Average Sunny Days: 300 (List Rank: 6)
Average KJ/m2: 4,960 (List Rank: 5)
Total Solar MW Installed: 2,309 (National Rank: 13)
7. OKLAHOMA: This state is doing OK when it comes to KJ/m2 but not so great when it comes to the amount of solar installed.
Average Sunny Days: 234 (List Rank: 7)
Average KJ/m2: 4,912 (List Rank: 6)
Total Solar MW Installed: 101 (National Rank: 44)
8. KANSAS: This state seems to be plain missing the solar trend, even though there are plenty of solar days in comparison.
Average Sunny Days: 230 (List Rank: 8)
Average KJ/m2: 4,890 (List Rank: 7)
Total Solar MW Installed: 106 (National Rank: 43)
9. UTAH: Producing a good amount of KJ/m2, this state has good potential for solar but is still tailing behind the leaders by a lot.
Average Sunny Days: 238 (List Rank: 9)
Average KJ/m2: 4,487 (List Rank: 12)
Total Solar MW Installed: 2,761 (National Rank: 12)
10. FLORIDA: Keeping up with the name of the Sunshine State, Florida lands among the top three producers of solar in the nation.
Average Sunny Days: 237 (List Rank: 10)
Average KJ/m2: 4,887 (List Rank: 8)
Total Solar MW Installed: 9,791 (National Rank: 3)
As we come to our destination of solar exploration through kilojoules, total megawatts, and sunny days, you can see that while they all tie together, there are many contributing factors as to why some states may have higher counts of sunshine and low stats in solar versus the others. Some of the nation’s top producing states don’t factor in on the list of sunniest states. Here are the leaders in solar across the nation:
California (38.145 MW)
Texas (16,173 MW)
Florida (9.791 MW)
North Carolina (8,147 MW)
Arizona (6,087 MW)
Nevada (5,040 MW)
Georgia (4,574 MW)
New Jersey (4,270 MW)
New York (4,041)
To learn more about kilojoules, roof exposure, solar capacity and maximizing Florida’s sunshine, schedule a free, no-obligation educational consultation with one of Solcium’s solar experts!