On paper, you would get the most out of your solar panel system where the average number of clear days per year is the highest. Here's the list of the sunniest states of America, according to the National Climatic Data Center
- Arizona — 193 clear days a year on average
- New Mexico — 167
- Nevada — 158
- California — 146
- Oklahoma — 139
Not surprisingly, the town, leading by total Installed Solar PV Capacity, is Los Angeles (California) — it's easy and self-evident to go solar in a place where the sun is. But when it comes to solar panels it's not only important how much energy they produce, but how much money you save through them. That depends on electricity prices in different states of America.
Here is the funny thing. States where your solar system is going to pay for itself in the least time are not the sunniest. For example, a solar panel system in New York city gives one of the highest return rates in the USA, although the NY state is the 5th in list of the least sunny states. The reason for it is the high electricity cost. It turns out that even if you are getting less energy through the solar panel system due to bad weather in your area, you still might be saving more money than those who live in a sunnier state.
Right now the states, where solar energy pays for itself faster than everywhere else, are the following:
- Hawaii (average payback time is around 5 years, but an annual number of clear days is only 90)
- Washington DC (5 years of payback time, 58 clear days a year)
- Massachusetts (average payback time — 6 years, but an annual number of clear days is only 98)
- Rhode Island (6 years, 98 clear days a year)
- New York (7 years, 63 clear days a year)
There are other factors that make the switch to solar energy more or less appealing in one or the other state, but the weather is not necessarily the most important of them.