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Five cities in California have the nation's highest density of homes with solar panels, while Detroit has the lowest, according to new analysis that uses AI to track solar deployment via high-resolution aerial imagery.

Expand chart
Reproduced from Cape Analytics; Chart: Axios Visuals

What they did: Cape Analytics analyzed visual data on tens of millions of homes in major metro areas nationwide by working with partners like the location data company Nearmap. That enabled a fine-grain analysis of residential solar power at a neighborhood level.

Why it matters: The firm intends its localized data to help policymakers better understand where solar power is being adopted and why — and help homeowners understand if they can get state-specific incentives for going solar.

  • Solar power currently provides roughly 2% of U.S. electricity, and while it's growing fast, advocates hope to see even faster deployment.
  • Cape Analytics marketing head Kayvan Farzaneh tells Axios the company is "not in the business of selling solar panels, but of course we're supporters of renewable energy."

What they found: Every "super solar" neighborhood in the U.S. — those with over 500 homes and solar systems — is in California, except for one in Saint Petersburg, Florida, which is 13.2% solar.

  • Dallas and Miami have nearly the same number of sunny days per year, but Florida has more tax credits and incentives for going solar than Texas.
  • And while California is far and away the nation's solar leader, Cape Analytics' data shows how its distribution there is uneven.

The big picture: Cape Analytics examined the entire U.S., Farzaneh tells Axios. The company has access to addresses of nearly all homes in America, Farzaneh said, and currently works with many U.S. property insurance companies.

  • "We’re the first in the insurance industry to be doing this, at this kind of scale … as far as I know," Farzaneh said. Cape Analytics supplies home insurance providers with AI-extracted data on roof conditions, overhanging trees, pools, and other factors that could affect insurance policies.
  • In creating this new report, Cape Analytics says it did not use specific home addresses. The company's aerial imagery partners gathered data from neighborhoods as groups.

Go deeper: Solar power systems spike in homes, businesses and industrial plants

Go deeper

At least 3 dead after Amtrak train derails in Montana

Photo: Jacob Cordeiro/Twitter

An Amtrak train derailed near Joplin, Montana, killing at least three people and wounding many others on Saturday afternoon, per a Liberty County Sheriff's Office statement to media outlets.

The big picture: Some 147 passengers and 13 crew were aboard the Empire Builder train, which runs from Seattle to Chicago, when five cars derailed about 4p.m., Amtrak spokesperson Kimberly Woods said in an emailed statement. The National Transportation Safety Board said it's investigating the derailment.

New York prepares for staff shortages from health vaccine mandate

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul during a news conference Tuesday in New York City.. Photo: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) announced Saturday she would declare a state of emergency if there were health worker shortages due to New York's upcoming COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Why it matters: Hochul moved to reassure concerns of staffing shortages in the health care sector in a statement that also outlined plans to call in medically trained National Guard members, workers from outside New York and retirees if necessary when the mandate takes effect Monday.

California to remove word "alien" from state laws

Gov. Gavin Newsom during a September news conference in Oakland, California. Photo: Jane Tyska/Digital First Media/East Bay Times via Getty Images

California is removing the word "alien" from its state laws and replacing it with words such as "noncitizen" and "immigrant," Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced.

Why it matters: The word "alien" began to be used in the 1990s "as a political dog whistle to express bigotry and hatred without using traditionally racist language," per a statement from Newsom's office.

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