Wisconsin Environment Research and Policy Center’s report Lighting the Way: What We Can Learn from America’s Top 12 Solar States identifies the twelve states making the greatest contribution to the rise of solar power in the United States. The report observes that while Wisconsin’s solar capacity is growing, this growth is far behind the increase observed in the report’s top ranking states, lagging behind enough to earn Wisconsin a ranking of 26th in the nation for per capita solar installations. The full report and the press release below identify the strong renewable energy policies adopted by the top ranking states and the reasoning for Wisconsin’s low ranking.  

Milwaukee – Today, Wisconsin Environment Research & Policy Center releasedLighting the Way: What We Can Learn from America’s Top 12 Solar States, a new report highlighting a solar energy boom across the country. The report outlines the twelve states that have made a considerable contribution to the nation’s rise in solar power. Wisconsin however, missed the cut and ranks 26th in the nation for per capita solar installations. Last year, solar capacity in Wisconsin grew by 7% bringing it to a total of 14 megawatts. But Wisconsin still trails behind leading solar states such as New Jersey that has more than 50 times as many solar installations per capita than Wisconsin. 

“The sky’s the limit on solar energy,” said Megan Severson, State Advocate with Wisconsin Environment. “The progress of other states should give us the confidence that we can do much more. Our message today is clear: If you want your state to be a leader in pollution-free solar energy, set big goals and get good policies on the books.” 

Solar is on the rise across the country. America has more than three times as much solar photovoltaic capacity as it did in 2010, and more than 10 times as much as it did in 2007. And now the price of solar panels fell by 26 percent in 2012. Wisconsin Environment attributed the solar boom to the leadership of state officials, especially those in states profiled in the report. 

“More and more, homes and businesses are turning to solar as a pollution-free energy source with no fuel costs,” said Severson. “With the increasing threat of global warming, Wisconsin must become a leading solar state.”