Rooftop solar needs policy help to boom — report

By Jason Plautz | 02/28/2024 06:19 AM EST

A new study finds that state policies give small-scale solar a boost.

Two electricians install solar panels on a roof.

Electricians install solar panels on a roof in Goodyear, Arizona. Matt York/AP

“Location, location, location” may be the axiom of the real estate industry, but for rooftop solar, success is more about policy, policy, policy.

A new report based on federal energy data finds that some of the sunniest states are lagging on small-scale solar compared with states that have stronger incentives despite more cloudy weather.
new report

For example, Eastern states such as Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Vermont were all in the top 10 for rooftop solar per capita. That’s in part because of easier permitting and interconnection procedures as well as favorable net metering setups, which reimburse customers for sending excess solar power to the grid.


The study results show that the U.S. may not be able to harness its full potential from solar panels on homes and small businesses without policy changes at the state and local level, said report co-author Johanna Neumann, the senior director of Environment America Research & Policy Center’s Campaign for 100% Renewable Energy.