As 2019 kicks off, SolarPowerRocks has issued its 2019 State Solar Power Rankings Report, rating states and Washington, DC, on their solar policies and incentives. With the launch of a new incentive program Massachusetts retook the top spot from New Jersey, while Alabama took 51st place, falling four spots last year.
The report gave the top spot to Massachusetts for doubling its solar carve-out from 1,600 megawatts to 3,200 MWs and its launch of the SMART Program of solar incentives, which replaced its solar renewable energy credit (SREC) program. New Jersey, which was first place previously, fell to second in the rankings.
“NJ's new RPS law is set to boost solar in the state, and though the SREC program is set to expire after the state hits 5.1% of energy from solar, we're feeling pretty confident the 'long-term successor' they've been talking about will be good,” the organization said of the state.
Meanwhile, Alabama took the bottom spot in the report, falling four places. SolarPowerRocks attributed its fall to the “dismal” 2.9 percent investment return on solar rooftops.
There were other notable changes in solar policies across the country as well. Last year California became the first state to mandate solar on all new homes starting in 2020. While it’s the state with the most residential solar it ranked 12th in the ratings.
“California's 12th place showing really doesn't recognize how amazing the state is and has been for solar power, but that's just because the incentives other states need to kickstart their solar industries just aren't necessary here,” SolarPowerRocks said.
The report also looked ahead into 2019 and beyond, noting that federal investment tax credit of 30 percent will end at the end of the year, falling first to 26 percent and sunsetting after 2021. The report called it a test for the industry.
“We’re seeing signs that solar will pass that test with flying colors. In fact, given how well the industry has weathered the solar tariffs enacted by the Trump administration in early 2018, and how the costs to install just keep falling, it seems certain that solar is ready for its moment in the spotlight,” SolarPowerRocks said. “One bit of good news on that front is the Trump solar tariffs also begin their gradual reduction, and prices will continue to fall, so the effects of the end of the ITC will be muted for at least a year or two.”
SolarPoweRocks made some other predictions. “Look for the progressive wing of the Democratic party to really push its Green New Deal. They probably know they won’t get any of what they want in 2019, but if they get the broad strokes right and drum up some widespread support for their ideas, the GND could be central to messaging for many progressive candidates in 2020,” it said.
The organization also noted that incoming Governors will impact what happens with solar power in 2019. For instance, Colorado governor-elect, Jared Polis (D) has discussed setting a 100 percent renewable portfolio standard in that state. And SolarPowerRocks anticipated that by the end of the year 10 or more states could set renewable solar portfolios of 50 percent or more, that’s up from six already.Tweet