This Year's Rooftop Solar Installations Expected to Break Last Year's Record, Experts Say

The number of solar residential installations continues to climb every year and to break records. A government estimate shows how much.

Aerial view of homes under construction with solar panels on top of them.

California leads the nation in small-scale solar panel capacity in part because new homes, like these being built in Los Angeles, are required to have solar panels.

Mario Tama/Getty Images

Rooftop solar installations had a record-breaking year in 2022 and experts believe this trend will continue. 

Last year broke records for small-scale solar installations. National rooftop solar adoption has risen by 32.2 gigawatts since 2014, according to new estimates from the US Energy Information Administration, with 2022 holding the record for the most small-scale solar capacity added in one year (6.4 gigawatts). 

"We're excited to see it, and we want to see as much solar out there as possible to align with the administration's goals," Garrett Nilsen, deputy director of the US Department of Energy's Solar Energy Technologies Office, told CNET. "I would imagine 2023 will be the next high year and hopefully 2024 and beyond we'll all be breaking those records in the time to come."   

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California has seen the most growth in rooftop solar installations, and it contains 36% of the entire country's small-scale solar capacity, according to the report. The Golden State has plenty of sunshine, solar incentives and a policy requiring all newly built homes to include solar panels. 

California residents also face some of the highest electricity rates in the country, with an average electricity rate of 31.22 cents per kilowatt-hour in June 2023. Installing solar panels is a way for California residents to lower their electricity bills. 

Following California's massive rooftop solar capacity are New York and New Jersey. These mid-Atlantic states have less sunshine than California, but solar policies and offerings in New York and New Jersey have incentivized small-scale solar growth there.

Texas and Arizona aren't far behind New York and New Jersey. States in the Southwest and the Sun Belt have a lot of solar capacity, but much of it is utility-scale -- massive solar farms pumping power straight into the grid. 

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Article updated on September 12, 2023 at 7:46 AM PDT

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Sarah Drolet
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Sarah Drolet Associate Writer
Sarah Drolet is an associate writer at CNET covering home energy, residential solar power and whole-home backup technology. She previously wrote about home and moving-related topics for MYMOVE. Sarah is a self-identifying home battery nerd, often seen combing through battery spec sheets and warranties. She graduated from Coastal Carolina University with a bachelor's degree in communications. In her spare time, you can find her chilling on the couch with her PlayStation and cat.
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