Solar energy developed to power home electricity was among the most promising developments and advancements in alternative energy. Yet, according to the US Energy Information Administration, only 3% of single-family homes use this technology. Most of these are in the West, where the penetration is 8.9%. There are pockets where the figure is much higher. Among US cities with populations of over 100,000, Goodyear, AZ tops that list.
A new study from MarketWatch looked at solar adoption by city based on raw numbers and adoption per 100,000 homes. The raw figure is not very helpful. The largest cities have the largest raw counts. Las Vegas has 287 homes with solar power listed for sale, followed by New York at 218 and Los Angeles at 214. This data was pulled from listings on the real estate sales site Zillow.
Goodyear has 57.9 solar homes listed per 100,000 residents of the city. It is followed by Menifee, CA, at 55.8 and Sunrise, AZ, at 55.1. Of the top 15 cities rated on this basis, all are in California, Arizona, Colorado, or Florida.
Is the reason for the high adoption in the states a matter of the number of hours of sunshine? Perhaps not. A look at the list of solar credits by state provided by Bankrate does include California, Arizona, and Florida. It also includes states like North Carolina, where adoption is fairly low.
There appears to be no explanation for why adoption changes sharply from state to state. States with low adoption run from the South (Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee) to Northern tier states (Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio)
Goodyear is not a city. It is a suburb of Phoenix. Phoenix has experienced a population explosion and is now the sixth-largest city in America. Goodyear had a population of 19,000 in 2000. That rose to 105,000 in 2022. The city gets less than nine inches of rain annually, most of which falls in January, February, March, and September. If residential solar power will work well anywhere, it is in Goodyear, where cloudy weather is a rarity.