California easily leads all fifty U.S. states in solar electricity production. The state produces more than 21,000 megawatts (MW) of installed solar capacity—enough to power 7.9 million homes! In fact, at 6,451 megawatts of solar energy, the next state on the list doesn’t even come close. North Carolina, the second leading state in solar electricity production, only produces enough energy to power 777,493 homes. Below you will see the top-10 best states for solar power from 2020 and their solar electricity production:
- California—28,472 MW
- North Carolina—6,451 MW
- Florida—5,578 MW
- Texas—5,577 MW
- Arizona—4,766 MW
- Nevada—3,613 MW
- New Jersey—3,386 MW
- Massachusetts—2,850 MW
- Georgia—2,664 MW
- New York—2,402 MW
Considering California’s obvious commitment to renewable energy, it should come as no surprise that the state continues to push the bounds. Both the executive and legislative entities have made it clear that combating climate change by combating fossil fuel emission is priority.
Recently, California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, announced that he will aggressively move the state further away from its reliance on climate change-causing fossil fuels while retaining and creating jobs and spurring economic growth. He issued an executive order requiring sales of all new passenger vehicles to be zero-emission by 2035.
Fossil Fuel Emissions & The Transportation Sector
The EPA cites the transportation sector as one of the leading causes of pollution across the country. According to the EPA, “Air pollution emitted from transportation contributes to smog, and to poor air quality, which has negative impacts on the health and welfare of U.S. citizens.”
In California specifically, the transportation sector is responsible for more than half of all of California’s carbon pollution. 80 percent of smog-forming pollution and 95 percent of toxic diesel emissions all stem from transportation. Meanwhile, communities in the Los Angeles Basin and Central Valley see some of the dirtiest and most toxic air in the country.
Governor Newsom’s press release regarding his electric vehicles by 2035 executive order provided more insight into the reasoning behind this historic move.
“This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change,” said Governor Newsom. “For too many decades, we have allowed cars to pollute the air that our children and families breathe. Californians shouldn’t have to worry if our cars are giving our kids asthma. Our cars shouldn’t make wildfires worse – and create more days filled with smoky air. Cars shouldn’t melt glaciers or raise sea levels threatening our cherished beaches and coastlines.”
The Cost of Going All Electric Vehicles by 2035
Many consumers, understandably, worry about the cost of purchasing electric vehicles when compared to conventional cars. The Newsom administration, however, expressed that the upfront cost of electric vehicles are projected to reach parity with conventional vehicles in just a matter of years. Myriad factors go into this assumption, one of them revolving around the price of lithium. Volume-weighted lithium-ion battery pack prices have fallen 87% in the last 9 years alone. The projections show the costs continuing to drop in the years to come.
As the technology catches up to our aspirations, pushing for electric vehicles by 2035 seems not just more and more likely, but also more and more accessible to the average citizen.
While the current upfront cost of an emissions-free vehicle is more than that of a conventional one, the cost of owning the electric car—both in maintenance and how much it costs to power the car mile for mile—is far less than a fossil fuel burning vehicle.
How To Prepare For The Electric Vehicles by 2035 Mandate
If you haven’t thought about purchasing an electric vehicle, now would be a great time to start looking into it. Our energy experts recently created the perfect tool for California residents who want to learn about going electric. We created an EV Savings Calculator that gives you an estimate of the cost and savings of going electric. While anyone can use this resource, it is optimized for residents of California.
If you do have an electric vehicle, you can use this tool to estimate the amount of solar energy you would need to produce to offset the additional electricity consumed. We base these figures on your annual mileage, cost of fuel, energy provider and more!
Once you have an electric vehicle, most experts agree that the best way to maximize savings is with a residential solar system paired with an EV charging station. Luckily, solar companies like NRG Clean Power, can take the legwork out of this process for you. We can not only provide custom quotes and solar designs, we can also provide bundle deals on additional features such as backup batteries and EV chargers.
Core Highlights of Executive Order
Below you will find the key aspects included in Governor Newsom’s executive order regarding emission-free vehicles:
- Executive order directs the state to require that, by 2035, all new cars and passenger trucks sold in California be zero-emission vehicles .
- Transportation currently accounts for more than 50 percent of California’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions.
- Zero-emission vehicles are a key part of California’s clean, innovation economy—already California’s second largest global export market.
- Order also directs the state to take more actions to tackle the dirtiest oil extraction. It also requires workers’ support and job retention/creation as we make a just transition away from fossil fuels.