• Out of the 325,000 new solar power systems added last year, nearly half were in California.
  • Seven out of 10 top solar metros were in California, including San Francisco and Los Angeles.
  • Energy industry hub Houston saw a marginal estimated 0.18 installations per 1,000 residents in 2015.
  • The Northeast showed more signs of geothermal adaptation, at a 13.2 percent permit share.

BuildZoom recently calculated the frequency of solar permits in the U.S., finding over 325,000 new solar power systems were added to homes last year, half of which were located in sunny California.new solar permits

While the Golden State remained the leader in solar sustainability, the Northeast held a 13.2 percent share of all solar permits — up from 9 percent the year prior, according to BuildZoom.

The Midwest remained the least geothermal focused in the report, with just 1.2 percent of solar permits in 2015, down from 3.2 percent in 2014.

Solar permits in the South rose slightly last year, from 15.2 percent to 16.2 percent of all U.S. activity in 2015. The West, excluding California and Hawaii, grew from 13.9 percent to 15.1 percent.

Highest solar permits per capita

solar permits

California continues to be the most solar-friendly state, holding 48.3 percent of all solar permits in the country in 2015. Seven out of 10 top solar metros were in California, BuildZoom says, including San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward in eighth and Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim in ninth.

In 2015, an estimated 9.34 out of 1,000 households gained solar power in San Francisco, up from 7.25 households the year prior. L.A. saw a similar boost, to 9.08 households in 2015 from 6.32 in 2014.

Las Vegas (no. 3), Phoenix (no. 4) and Denver (no. 10) were the only non-California markets in the top 10.

Hawaii, despite its size, held a 6 percent share of all solar permits. Per 1,000 residents, an estimated 118.65 households installed solar systems by the end of 2015, up from 104.23 in 2014.

Moving down the list, Austin-Round Rock in Texas (no. 12) grew annually, from 5.04 to 6.24 solar installations per 1,000 residents in 2015.

Baltimore-Columbia-Towson was no. 15, with 4.76 solar installations per 1,000 residents, which is up from 3.01 systems in 2014. On the lower end of the list, the Washington D.C. metro area remained relatively low, with 0.97 installations, which is up from 0.57 the year before.

Miami, at no. 20, featured 2.18 solar adaptations per 1,000 residents, an increase from 1.78 the year prior.

Despite less than compatible climate conditions, New York-Newark-Jersey City saw slightly more solar activity in 2015 from the year prior, with 0.21 installations in 2015 from a previous 0.20 installations per 1,000 residents in 2014.

Energy industry hub Houston saw a marginal estimated 0.18 installations per 1,000 people last year, which is an increase from 0.13 the year prior.

Chicago came in at no. 44, with just 0.13 installations per 1,000 people in 2015, which is up from 0.09 in 2014.

BuildZoom, a marketplace for homebuyers and builders to connect, further pointed to the largest solar companies in the U.S.

SolarCity remained the top choice, BuildZoom says, at 35.3 percent of installations. Vivint Solar held the no. 2 spot, at 8.4 percent of activity. SunRun was third, with 3.8 percent of solar panel contracting jobs.

Email Jennifer Riner

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