California may be the Golden State, but it’s New Jersey where U.S. residents get the best deal on their solar power systems, new research shows.

A survey by Global Solar Centertried to give an “apples to apples” comparison for the cost of solar power in all 50 states, the center’s chairman Jack Hidary told Reuters.

The common denominator turned out to be the cash payback, or how many years it would take a residential or commercial customer to recoup their investment and start seeing real savings, Hidary said.
“That takes into account the cost of the system, the sun at that spot, the incentives of that region, utility rates. It blends in everything all together,” Hidary said.

The center analyzed the date using new software and found that New Jersey had the fastest payback — 1.5 years — for residential systems, followed by New York and Delaware with paybacks of three and six years, respectively. California tied for fourth place with Maryland, Massachusetts and Wisconsin, all with payback hitting seven years.

Rankings changed when the center looked at commercial solar power systems.

For commercial projects, Colorado, Wisconsin, Hawaii, Ohio and Oregon all share the top spot, with a 1.5 year payback time, according to the survey.