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A new study released by Cape Analytics shows how much solar per-capita is installed on homes across the US and found 1.8% of them now have solar PV (photovoltaics). 

San Diego leads the nation with 10,195 homes out of 100,000 or 10.2%. With electrical rates at $0.15 per kilowatt hour and lots of solar access when it’s needed (think summertime air conditioning loads), it makes a lot of sense that San Diego has so much solar.  Overall, 65% of San Diego’s energy comes from non-renewable energy sources. San Diego gets 1478kWh (kilowatt hours) per year per 1kW of installed solar photovoltaics. 

In Seattle, less than 01% of our homes, (657 homes out of 100,000) have solar. This also makes some sense in that our electrical rates are relatively low at $0.11 per kilowatt hour and most of our electricity comes from hydropower. We get about 1,100kWh per year per 1kW installed, about 74% of the amount of what San Diego receives per year. 


Some of what inhibits the growth of solar in the Puget Sound region is likely due to the perception that solar is not viable here because of our dark months in the late fall to early spring.  Another factor is that our abundant hydropower is relatively clean and inexpensive.

The reality is that Seattle gets 74% of the solar resources that San Diego receives. 

Seattle however shouldn’t consider itself a slacker in installed solar per-capita because we have significantly more solar than in cities like Dallas, St. Louis, Houston and Atlanta, which have much better solar resources.

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About the author


Started Puget Sound Solar in 2001 with 30 years of construction contracting experience, and a desire to turn Seattle on to solar energy. Achieving NABCEP certification in 2004, Jeremy believes that our customers often follow a path similar to the one he took, starting out with solar daydreaming, then progressing to education on the subject, and eventually leading to action. In addition to leading the company he also does some teaching and speaking engagements about various aspects of solar energy, and experiments relentlessly with various solar, energy efficiency, and electric vehicle projects.

Jeremy Smithson

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