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Sunniest States

Sunniest States
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Where the Sun Shines In America

Sunny days bring more than just good vibes. Sunshine catalyzes life on Earth, facilitating critical processes like photosynthesis, weather patterns, and even our own mental health. Moreover, in an era of ever-increasing technological sophistication, sunlight also stands as a promising source of clean, renewable energy. As our world shifts towards more sustainable methods of power generation, identifying the sunniest regions becomes imperative. For those intrigued by solar energy, especially for powering their homes, knowing where the sun shines the most within the U.S. can guide both living choices and investments. 

Based on the tally of average annual sunlight, measured in kilojoules per square meter (kJ/m²), we offer a comprehensive account of solar energy potential across various states.

  • The 'Sunbelt' reigns supreme: The southwestern U.S., including states like Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada tops the list as the sunniest regions, boasting over 5,000 kJ/m² of annual sunlight.
  • Texas and California, two of the most populous states and leading economies in the U.S., also rank highly, suggesting substantial opportunities for solar energy infrastructure and use here.
  • Eastern states generally receive less sunlight compared to their western counterparts, with the exceptions of Florida and, to a lesser extent, South Carolina -- southern states known for their sunny climes. 
  • The least sunny states include predominantly northern/ northeastern ones such as Maine, Vermont, and Washington, all receiving less than 4,000 kJ/m² of sunlight annually.

States with Most Sunshine

The most sun-drenched state in the U.S. is Arizona, where the average annual sunlight measures a radiant 5,755 kJ/m². Arizona's tranquil desert climate and clear skies give it an unrivaled advantage in terms of solar power potential, which is increasingly being recognized and utilized in energy plans across the state.

Not far behind is New Mexico, with its average annual sunlight hitting 5,642 kJ/m². Nevada is the third sunniest state, receiving an annual average of 5,296 kJ/m² of sunlight. Next in line, we have Texas and California, each with a yearly sunlight average above 5,000 kJ/m², scoring  5,137 and 5,050 kJ/m² respectively.

While not quite exceeding the 5,000 kJ/m² mark, states like Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas, Utah, and Florida each receive ample sunlight, between 4,859 and 4,960 kJ/m² annually. 

The ten sunniest states in the U.S based on average annual sunlight are:

  1. Arizona - 5,755 kJ/m²
  2. New Mexico - 5,642 kJ/m²
  3. Nevada - 5,296 kJ/m²
  4. Texas - 5,137 kJ/m²
  5. California - 5,050 kJ/m²
  6. Colorado - 4,960 kJ/m²
  7. Oklahoma - 4,912 kJ/m²
  8. Kansas - 4,890 kJ/m²
  9. Utah - 4,887 kJ/m²
  10. Florida - 4,859 kJ/m²

By State

Full Data Set

Frequently Asked Questions

Methodology