Once again, Los Angeles, now with 349 megawatts of solar power providing energy to its residents, has taken over the top spot from San Diego, which has 287 megawatts of solar power providing energy to its residents. That’s according to Environment America’s latest Shining Cities report.
“We’re proud to lead American cities in the movement to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Every investment we make in solar is an investment in the health and well-being of Angelenos today and for years to come.”
Los Angeles has led the country in terms of installed solar for a number of years, only falling behind San Diego once, last year. It’s continued to add major and innovative installations in the city as well as outside it.
The report, Shining Cities 2018: How Smart Local Policies Are Expanding Solar Power in America, focusses on how nearly 70 of the US’s major cities are implementing solar power. The top 20 cities already account for 4 percent of the US’s solar power capacity despite just making up 0.1 percent of the country’s land mass. The report also shows which cities have the most energy on a per person basis. With 606 watts of solar power installed per person Honolulu, HI, led the country on a per capita basis. It ranked 3rd in overall solar installed with 213 megawatts of solar power.
“I made a commitment to transform Honolulu’s public and private ground transportation to 100 percent renewable energy by 2045, and solar will play a huge role,” said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. “This technology is rapidly improving and becoming even more widespread.”
Phoenix, AZ (with 206 megawatts), and San Jose, CA (with 196 megawatts), rounded out the top five cities for installed solar power cities that aren’t in such sunny places also took high ranks in the list. Fully eight cities now have more than 100 megawatts of solar power installed, according to the report. It also also observed that it’s not just the US’s sunny meccas that are leading the way in solar. Cities like Indianapolis (with 117 megawatts), New Orleans (with 40 megawatts), and Boston (with 33 megawatts) also ranked highly in this year’s report.
Looking ahead its likely the report will see more diversity. Cities that aren’t now topping the list, like Philadelphia, are looking to have higher amounts of solar power in their energy mix as well. “Philadelphia is committed to reducing carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050 and transitioning to a 100 percent clean energy future,” said Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. “Solar energy is a critical tool that not only helps us achieve these goals, but also creates local jobs and helps reduce utility costs for residents.”
Such efforts are important said Abigail Bradford, a Frontier Group policy associate who co-authored the Shining Cities report. “Research shows that effective public policies—even more than the availability of sunlight—are the key to making cities solar leaders.”
Many cities have a vast potential for more solar power as well, most could generate at least 50 times more solar power on rooftops alone. To further grow solar power in the US and in these cities more pro-solar policy actions will be needed, the report stated.Tweet