What Are The Top Metro Areas For Solar Power Growth?

Solar power experienced a record-breaking year in 2019, and many people are probably wondering where all of these solar panels are being installed.

Cape Analytics, a leading computer vision technology and risk analytics company, set out to discover the answer to this question for residential solar. The company used computer vision to parse aerial imagery of 38 million properties across 21 major metropolitan areas in the US. They then leveraged artificial intelligence to analyze huge quantities of geospatial data. The results provide insight into the amount of solar panels installed on residential rooftops across the country.

Just under 2 percent of the 38 million homes surveyed have solar panels. This represents 1,837 solar home per 100,000 on a per-capita basis.

California metro areas dominated the top 5, as San Diego took home the No. 1 spot with a whopping 10,195 homes with solar panels per 100,000 homes in the metropolitan area. That equals more than 10 percent per capita.


The Top 5 metro areas are:

  1. San Diego (10,195)
  2. San Francisco (6,031)
  3. Riverside (5,863)
  4. San Jose (5,415)
  5. Los Angeles (3,981)


The rest of the top 10 are areas located outside of California, covering:

  1. Phoenix (3,644)
  2. Tampa Bay (2,591)
  3. Denver (1,776)
  4. Miami (1,352)
  5. New York City (1,190)


Meanwhile, the five cities with the fewest number of solar-paneled homes were:

  • Minneapolis (117)
  • Houston (110)
  • Chicago (75)
  • Atlanta (64)
  • Detroit (21)


What Does This Mean for the Solar Industry?

This data can be a boon for solar project developers and installers looking for insight into where they should break into the market. The report shows opportunities on both ends of the spectrum.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the data showed that, in general, the greater the number of days of sun per year, the higher the number of solar homes per capita. Four of the top five metro areas on the list have a greater solar penetration than average, with only the LA metro falling below it. This shows there’s a high demand for solar panels in these areas.

However, several metro areas with high sunlight penetration fall significantly lower than the average, such as Atlanta and Dallas. On the other hand, Seattle, which has the fewest days of sunlight, has more solar homes than Dallas, Houston and Atlanta, all of which have much higher days of sun per year. Phoenix, the sunniest of the metro areas included in the study, only has a third of the solar panels San Diego does.

Some of these limitations are due to the variations in financial incentives and tax credits amongst states and local municipalities, with certain areas having no incentives or credits at all. But with so much sunlight penetration in the Atlanta, Dallas and Phoenix metro areas, it’s only a matter of time before more residents start taking advantage of solar power.

To learn more about bringing solar to your area, contact Trina Solar today!

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