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Summary:

Which states get an A in solar and which fail? Check out our map of environmental advocacy group Solar Power Rocks’ 2013 rankings.

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photo: Thinkstock

Solar power technology is proliferating across the U.S. as costs drop and awareness grows. (Check out these charts to see solar’s amazing growth last year.) But the political atmosphere for solar power varies greatly state to state.

To help navigate the landscape, clean energy advocacy group Solar Power Rocks released its 2013 rankings for states’ commitment to solar power. The group ranked states based on a methodology that factors in five years’ of data regarding solar incentives, policy, infrastructure and metering, and assigned states a letter grade based on how easy or difficult it is to go solar.

We mapped out their rankings and it seems, not surprisingly, that the possibility for solar power is most promising in pockets of the Southwest and Northeast, while the South trails far behind. For more about the state of the solar market, see our solar coverage.

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  1. You didn’t mention a key word used several times by SolarPowerRocks.com in its article, namely, “subsidies.” You do use the word “incentives” which, in this case, is a euphemism for “subsidies.” A more honest headline would be, “2013 Ranking of Solar Power Subsidies offered by States.” Without these enormous subsidies solar power is about as bright as a burned out light bulb. The only way this works is if you aren’t spending your own money. If you’re spending others’ money, the solar power scheme looks great!

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    1. Alexandr Shevtsov Friday, July 5, 2013

      Ha-ha! Do you think that coal, gas and nuclear power plants even more do not receive huge subsidies from the government?

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      1. Maybe you’re right. But at least we know that if there were no subsidies, the coal, gas, and nuclear COULD turn a profit. We know that solar has been unable to turn a profit and companies like Google and Apple use solar because of the money they get from the government (citizens). If they didn’t get money for making solar, I’m sure they wouldn’t jump on it.

        The free market wouldn’t go solar because it isn’t feasible. We know this by watching failing solar companies in the United States that can only exist with a bailout.

        Glad I could educate you.

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        1. Alexandr Shevtsov Friday, July 5, 2013

          Do you know about companies that make electricity from fuel and do not receive subsidies?
          And do you know why the market has not gone massively in solar energy? And I think it’s not because its price is high, but because its price is too low and will not take too much power consumer margins. Profit seller of electricity and the price of electricity to consumers are two different things.
          For comparison, I’ve read on the Internet that the French nuclear power company produced electricity at seven billion dollars, and the subsidies received by 40 (!) Billion dollars, аlso, U.S. coal companies receive very large subsidies.
          Money from the fuel business is very dirty.

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        2. therealgreenplease Sunday, July 7, 2013

          Oh really now, it’s not feasible? Why? What’s your take on CST?
          (*crickets*)

          The “free marketers” that argue against solar are full of crap. If you want to remove the subsidies, fine, remove them and take them away from coal, oil, gas, nuclear, and wind while you’re at it. However, you also MUST separate generation from distribution. Without doing so a lot of capital will never be able to participate.

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      2. Just because one’s neighbor smokes crack regularly and is still alive to brag about it doesn’t mean others should follow his example.

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        1. Do you realize we spend billions in military expenses guarding oil lanes, in the Middle East so you can fill up your car every week? Iraq’s oil grab is going to cost us almost $6 Trillion, that’s probably double today’s price without “Subsidies”. Ever tried to insure a nuclear plant?, yeah just call your agent, the fed picks that up. See those high temperatures and forest fires and farm subsidies for drought? you guessed it too, “other people money” picks that up

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  2. It is stupid to do solar power in the Northeastern USA, it barely pays back the energy needed to make the panels!

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    1. Alexandr Shevtsov Friday, July 5, 2013

      Seriously, do you think so? But the leaders in the production of solar energy Germany not agree with you.)

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    2. Thomas J. Romano Saturday, July 6, 2013

      Here in New YOrk it is being used for things like parking canopies. The long island rail road, county, and state governments are using them in their parking lots as cannopies over the parking lots.

      BRookhaven labs just installed a massive solar farm to use for their solar panel research. My Town just recently stated they will be installing solar panels on the roof of town hall (besides the wind turbine they already have).

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  3. Glad to see my home state of Maryland is way up there!

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  4. Storage of power is the key as everyone knows by now. Nothing solar will be feasible until the power storage problem is solved. That means a battery patents yet to be released by big oil is the key. That is when solar will take off. Now we also know that the oil companies that refuse to let go of the strings of power buy up the newest in battery technology. Until we can rein in the oil companies solar will always be second or third to oil and coal. It a shame but that is the story of solar when we have a 1000 years worth of oil reserves all capped nice an secure solar won’t be seen as a competitor in the near future.

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  5. It is interesting to note that South East US ranks the lowest. And as it turns out based on this visualization by Business Week – it is South East that would benefit more from emissions being cut by adopting renewable sources of energy. Check it out here:

    http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-07-03/correlations-where-renewable-energy-cuts-emissions-the-most

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  6. poor Rhode Island, not even worthy of getting a grade?

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