Natural resources have previously been included in analyses explaining differences between renewable energy deployment across countries or subnational regions. Most previous analyses used resource volumes, or rough proxies for these, and results have been inconclusive. This study uses panel data analysis, with indicators of both the quality and quantity of natural resources, and analyses effects on wind and PV development by comparing countries of the world, and provinces or states of China, Germany, and the US. Either measure of natural resources has limited explanatory power on differences in wind or PV development between countries. Resource quality, not quantity, has a more consistent, positive effect when comparing states or provinces of China, Germany and the US. Still, plenty of countries, states or provinces with relatively poor quality natural resources have managed relatively high levels of wind or PV development, and vice versa. The only exceptions are the US wind power market and the Chinese PV market, where development is more strongly correlated with natural resources. The conclusion is that natural resources are a small part in a larger set of drivers, and that low quality natural resources do not preclude developing relatively high market shares of wind or PV power.