Climate MattersApril 3, 2024

A Decade of U.S. Solar Growth


  • The U.S. produced more solar power in 2023 than ever before – part of a decade-long growth trend for renewable energy. 

  • Climate Central’s new report, A Decade of Growth in Solar and Wind Power, analyzed U.S. solar and wind energy data from 2014 to 2023 for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

  • The U.S. generated 238,121 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity from solar in 2023 — more than eight times the amount generated a decade earlier in 2014.

  • Electricity generated from solar energy in 2023 was enough to power the equivalent of more than 22 million average American homes.

  • California and Texas led in solar generation in 2023. But many other states have seen major growth in solar power during the last 10 years.

Download the data and read the full report.

Carbon-free electricity

The energy sector (including electricity, heat, and transportation) is the largest source of heat-trapping emissions both globally and in the U.S. Producing carbon-free electricity from renewable energy sources is therefore key to meeting global and national climate targets.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasts that most of the nation’s new energy capacity will come from renewable sources like solar and wind – shifting the energy mix away from fossil fuels (like coal, oil, and natural gas) that produce carbon pollution.

Renewable energy growth is bolstered by strong public support. Recent public opinion surveys give a clear message: most Americans want more solar and wind and less carbon pollution. The 2023 Yale Climate Opinion Maps show that 79% of U.S. adults support funding research into renewable energy, while 74% would support regulating carbon pollution.

To study renewable energy growth in America, Climate Central analyzed solar and wind energy data from EIA over the last 10 years (2014 to 2023) in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to show which states have led growth in solar and wind energy. 

The report examines two key measures of solar and wind energy growth:

  • capacity: the number and size of solar and wind installations, and 

  • generation: how much electricity was produced by those installations 

Read the full report: A Decade of Growth in Solar and Wind Power

U.S. solar power in 2023

Solar power is the fastest-growing source of renewable energy in the U.S., due in part to rapidly declining costs coupled with financial incentives such as those in the Inflation Reduction Act.

Solar energy comes from both:

  • large utility-scale power plants and 

  • small-scale installations with less than 1 megawatt (MW) of capacity, which typically includes residential rooftop or community solar.

By the end of 2023, the U.S. had an estimated total capacity of 139 gigawatts (GW) from utility- and small-scale solar installations — an increase of more than 26 GW or 23% from 2022. 

These installations generated an estimated 238,121 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity in 2023 — enough to power the equivalent of more than 22 million average American homes.

The U.S. produced 16% more solar power in 2023 than in 2022. About 31% of all solar power in 2023 came from small-scale solar installations.

CM: National Homes Powered by Solar in 2023 (EN)
Click the downloadable graphic: National Homes Powered by Solar in 2023

Solar-powered states in 2023

Several states stood out in the analysis of 2023 solar data:

  • California led the country with the most solar generation. Notably, electricity generated from small-scale solar operations accounted for around 41% of the state's total solar-generated electricity in 2023.

  • Texas followed California in solar generation in 2023 but had more year-over-year growth in electricity generated from solar than any other state (comparing 2022 to 2023).

  • Florida and North Carolina were the third and fourth, respectively, in solar generation.

CM: State Homes Powered by Solar in 2023 (EN)
Click the downloadable graphic: State Homes Powered by Solar in 2023

Top 10 states for utility- and small-scale solar (combined) generation in 2023. Find data for all 50 states and the District of Columbia in the full dataset.


Solar Generation (GWh) 2023

Solar Generation Growth (%) 2022 to 2023










North Carolina












New York









United States total



Solar’s growing role in the electricity mix

The U.S. added more than 121 GW of utility- and small-scale solar capacity in total during the last decade — meaning there was nearly eight times more solar capacity in 2023 than in 2014.

The country also generated over eight times more electricity from solar energy in 2023 than in 2014.

CM: National solar capacity 2014 to 2023 (EN)
Click the downloadable graphic: National solar capacity 2014 to 2023

Utility-scale solar capacity grew more than eight-fold from 2014 to 2023 and currently makes up two-thirds of all U.S. solar capacity. In 2023, utility-scale solar comprised around 8% of the nation’s total electricity capacity from all utility-scale sources (including renewables, nuclear, and fossil fuels), compared to around 1% in 2014.

Small-scale solar capacity (including residential rooftop and community solar) has also grown during the past decade, although at a slower pace than utility-scale. In 2023, small-scale solar had a capacity of 48 GW — a 20% increase compared to 2022, and more than six times the amount in 2014. The EIA estimates this capacity could grow to 55 GW by the end of 2024.

A decade of solar growth

The same states that were top solar producers in 2023 (California, Texas, Florida, and North Carolina) were among the top states for long-term growth in solar capacity, when comparing 2014 to 2023.

CM: State solar capacity 2014 to 2023 (EN)
Click the downloadable graphic: State solar capacity 2014 to 2023

Top 10 states for growth in solar (utility- and small-scale combined) capacity from 2014 to 2023. Find data for all 50 states and the District of Columbia in the full dataset.


Solar Capacity Growth (MW) 2014 to 2023

Solar Capacity Growth (%) 2014 to 2023










North Carolina









New York












United States total



The full report, A Decade of Growth in Solar and Wind Power, goes into more detail about state-level trends in utility- and small-scale solar. Download the data to see where your state ranks.


How much solar and wind power is generated near me?

You can check the WeatherPower tool for a multi-day forecast of solar and wind generation for your state, country, or congressional district.

Bringing your audience up to speed on the basics of solar and wind power?

Rebutting 33 False Claims About Solar, Wind, and Electric Vehicles, an April 2024 report from Columbia University’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, offers quick facts to clarify common points of misinformation and disinformation about solar, wind, and electric vehicles. Check out Climate Central’s Wind and Solar Power 101 guide, as well as our Solutions Series briefs on solar and wind energy.

Where does your state’s energy come from?

The EIA’s Renewable Electricity Infrastructure and Resources Dashboard gives state-level information about the nation’s renewable energy sources. The U.S. Energy Atlas provides searchable data and interactive maps for all aspects of the nation's energy system. Additional state-level data from the EIA can be found here.


Eric Larson, PhD
Senior Scientist (Energy Systems) at Climate Central
Senior Research Faculty, Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, Princeton University
Relevant expertise: clean energy technologies, clean energy systems

Talor Gruenwald, MIA*
Senior Research Associate
Rewiring America
Relevant expertise: carbon-free electricity, building electrification
*Available for interviews in Spanish


Submit a request to SciLine from the American Association for the Advancement of Science or to the Climate Data Concierge from Columbia University. These free services rapidly connect journalists to relevant scientific experts. 

Browse maps of climate experts and services at regional NOAA, USDA, and Department of the Interior offices.  

Explore databases such as 500 Women Scientists, BIPOC Climate and Energy Justice PhDs, and Diverse Sources to find and amplify diverse expert voices. 

Reach out to your State Climate Office or the nearest Land-Grant University to connect with scientists, educators, and extension staff in your local area. 


All national and state-level data come from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). Utility-scale solar and wind summer capacity values for 2014-2022 are as reported in EIA’s Historical State Data for each year. For 2023, utility-scale solar and wind summer capacity values are for December 2023 as reported in EIA’s Electric Power Monthly. Small-scale solar capacity for 2014-2022 are for December of each year, as reported in form EIA-861M. All generation values (wind, utility- and small-scale solar) for 2014-2022 come from EIA’s electricity data browser.

To calculate the portion of total capacity and electricity generation contributed by solar and wind (as a percentage), we compared electricity capacity/generation for utility-scale solar and wind to all fuel sources and all energy sectors at the utility-scale level, which includes: renewable sources; nuclear; and fossil fuels such as natural gas, oil, and coal. Solar and wind 10-year growth is a direct comparison between capacity/generation in 2014 and 2023.