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Oregon doesn't make the grade for top 12 solar states

Solar energy production in Oregon grew by 39 percent in 2012, but Oregon still ranks only 13th-highest among the states on a per-capita basis. That’s according to a report by Environment America Research & Policy Center released Jan. 7 by its state affiliate, Environment Oregon.

The report highlighted the nation’s top 12 solar-producing states, because they account for 85 percent of the nation’s solar energy production and only 28 percent of the U.S. population.

“The progress of other states should give us the confidence that we can do much more,” says Sarah Higginbotham, state director of Environment Oregon. States like Arizona and New Jersey have more than 14 as many solar installations per capita as Oregon has, the report found.

Solar accounts for less than 1 percent of Oregon’s energy production.

The 12 leading states are not necessarily those with the most sunshine: Arizona, California, Colorado,

Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina and Vermont.

The report, called Lighting the Way: What We Can Learn from America’s Top 12 Solar States, was completed several months ago so it doesn’t include data for 2013.

Nationally, solar production tripled from 2010 to 2012, and grew more than 10-fold since 2007, according to the report. In the fourth quarter of 2012, the U.S. installed more solar power than the nation had installed in its entire history up to 2010.

With the price of solar panels falling by 26 percent in 2012, there’s ample opportunity for more solar here.

The read the report: environmentoregon.org/sites/environment/files/reports/Lighting_the_way_OR_scrn.pdf.

Steve Law can be reached at 503-546-5139 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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