• Solar activity increased 300 percent between 2010 and 2015, with 29 percent growth between 2014 and 2015 alone.
  • BuildFax says buyers are willing to spend $15,000 more, on average, for homes with installed solar panels.
  • California encompasses 40 percent of the top 20 residential solar markets.

You might be all about recycling and composting for a lower carbon footprint, but would you install solar panels on your home?

A recent BuildFax report shows many Americans are making the investment in green building practices. Solar activity increased 300 percent between 2010 and 2015, with 29 percent growth between 2014 and 2015 alone.

What are the perks? BuildFax says not only do homeowners save on power expenses, but buyers are willing to spend $15,000 more on average for homes with installed solar panels. In some states, you don’t need an upfront investment to convert your home to solar energy, allowing for almost immediate savings.

residential solar activity

BuildFax also says solar technology is becoming more affordable than ever. The Solar Investment Tax Credit provides a 30 percent tax credit that homeowners can use toward personal income taxes.

Solar homes most popular in the Golden State

Despite more homeowners nationwide opting for solar panels, California still reigns supreme in highest number of solar advocates.  In the Golden State, residential solar activity is equivalent to all other states combined. 

California residential solar activity


Almost half of the top U.S. solar markets are located in California, including Sacramento (no. 7) and Stockton (no. 9).

Outside of the top 10 markets, Chula Vista ranked no. 12 for solar activity among homeowners. Anaheim hit no. 14, San Diego was no. 16, Fremont was no. 17, Oakland was no. 19 and Riverside came in at no. 20.

Within its borders, the amount of residential solar activity in California increased five times since 2010.

Increasing solar in the south, east

Reno may have made the no. 1 city for solar, but recent legislation and local mandates have lessened solar popularity. In 2015, Reno experienced a 431 percent increase in solar installments. At the end of the year, the Public Utilities Commission placed extra charges on solar homeowners, raising their utility costs by 50 percent.

North Las Vegas (no. 2), Henderson (no. 3) and Las Vegas (no. 6) are facing the same hurdles relating to Nevada’s solar economy.

Previously, the demand for solar in Nevada spurred 9,000 jobs and $833 million in local investments. Since the solar rate increases, solar applications fell 99 percent.

Further south, El Paso placed fourth on the list, and Dallas and Fort Worth ranked eighth and tenth, respectively.

New York City came in at no. 15 for largest percentage increase in solar activity between 2014 and 2015.

In Maryland, 2 percent of the state’s electricity will come from solar by 2020. Baltimore is the fifth fastest growing city for solar energy.

Email Jennifer Riner

Show Comments Hide Comments


Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription