Myth Buster: New York and New England Do Not Have Enough Sunlight For Solar

Fact: Rooftops in New England produce more than enough sun to reduce electric bills dramatically and reduce building owners’ operating costs.

See the attached map from the National Energy Research Laboratory, operated by the US Government.  The map shows the US solar resource as measured from 1995 through 2009.


Simplified Fifty State Template - Letter Size

We hear the questions often:  Does New York have enough sunlight to make solar power cost effective?  Does New England have enough sunlight?

As the solar map shows, New York and New England have enough sunlight to generate between 4 and 5 kilowatts per day for every square meter of solar panels on your roof. By contrast, Florida produces from 4.5 to 5.5 kilowatts per day. The difference – about 12.5% — is not significant when you consider that electricity costs almost twice as much in New England as in Florida.

In other words, rooftop solar in Connecticut, for example, is more practical than in Florida.

Some commentators have noted that Germany, which has the largest amount of installed solar generation per capita, has about as much sunlight as rainy Seattle or Arctic Alaska and that Southern Germany’s insolation levels are comparable to those of the US Canadian border.  These claims may not be reliable as they may have been based on different measurements for the amount of sunlight hitting panels.

Nevertheless, there is no doubt that Germany has less sunlight than most parts of North America and despite that fact Germany has found solar to be a cost-effective renewable energy source.