Chart: Which US states generate the most solar and wind energy?

A new report tracks how renewable energy is transforming the nation’s electricity mix, state by state.
By Maria Virginia Olano

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Renewable energy is surging remarkably in the U.S., with solar and wind power installations springing up across the country. A new report from Climate Central tracks the meteoric growth of these clean energy sources over the past decade, painting a clear picture of which states are emerging as renewable powerhouses.

In 2023, utility- and small-scale solar installations produced an estimated 238,121 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity combined, a 16 percent increase over 2022. Meanwhile, utility-scale wind installations produced 425,235 GWh of electricity — a 2% drop compared to 2022 due to lower wind speeds, mostly in the Midwest.

Together, solar and wind generated enough electricity last year to power the equivalent of more than 61 million average American homes.

In 2023, utility-scale solar produced nearly 4% of the country’s electricity. A decade earlier, in 2014, it made up less than 0.5% of the total electricity generated. Nevada and California are among the states with the highest share of utility-scale solar generation as a percent of their overall electricity mix — 23% and 19%, respectively.

California, however, leads the way in total solar (both utility- and small-scale) generation, producing over 68,800 GWh of electricity from the sun last year — that’s more than double the output of any other state. Texas came in second at 31,700 GWh, followed by Florida, North Carolina and Arizona. These five states make up the lion’s share of the nation’s 238,000 GWh of total solar generation in 2023. The Lone Star State saw the most dramatic growth in solar, adding nearly 5,000 MW of new capacity (the maximum amount of electricity that a source can produce at any given moment, as opposed to the amount of electricity a source produces over time, or generation). That’s a 37% increase from 2022.

Texas is the uncontested leader in wind power, with its turbines generating a remarkable 119,836 GWh of electricity in 2023 — more than the next three states (Iowa, Oklahoma and Kansas) combined.

While Texas also led in absolute growth, adding 1,309 MW of new wind capacity, Arizona and New York saw the biggest relative increases at 39% and 25%, respectively. Overall, U.S. wind power generation has more than doubled over the past decade, producing around 10% of the country’s electricity in 2023, compared to 4% in 2014.

Rapid growth of renewable energy is crucial for America’s efforts to combat climate change and meet its aggressive emissions reduction targets — 50-52% below 2005 levels by 2030. The country also has a goal of reaching 100% carbon-free electricity by 2035.

Solar and wind are poised to play a central role in reaching those goals, and recent policy incentives for renewable energy, most notably the Inflation Reduction Act, will be key in boosting solar and wind installations in the coming years. Researchers estimate that by 2035, these two renewable sources could make up over 50% of electricity capacity in most U.S. states. In a dozen states, wind and solar could account for more than 80% of capacity, with New Mexico, Vermont, Virginia and Wyoming potentially crossing the 90% threshold.

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Maria Virginia Olano is editorial producer at Canary Media.