Fifty top American cities have each more than doubled their total installed solar PV capacity since 2013, a new study released by Environment America Research & Policy Center found. The report, “Shining Cities 2020: The Top U.S. Cities for Solar Energy,” is the seventh annual edition of the most comprehensive survey of installed solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity in major U.S. cities.
This year’s survey, which analyzed data through December 2019, found that cities are increasingly turning to solar to meet their energy needs. In 2013, the first year of the study, eight of the cities surveyed had enough solar PV per capita to qualify as “Solar Stars” — (cities with 50 or more watts of solar PV capacity installed per capita). In 2019, that number jumped to 26 cities.
“Cities are leading the charge to install clean, renewable solar energy,” said acting Environment America president Wendy Wendlandt. “Mayors and local officials recognize the benefits that solar energy can offer their communities. Each year of our study we’ve found that more local leaders are pursuing solar projects and smart local policies to help their constituents tap the power of the sun.”
While the novel coronavirus pandemic has tremendously impacted the solar industry, these statistics both reflect how cities throughout the nation made a thorough commitment to this clean renewable energy source before COVID-19, and how essential it is to continue to push forward with solar energy despite the hurdles.
“With the continued growth in solar at risk in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic, we must make smart policy choices in this space,” said Johanna Neumann, senior director of the Campaign for 100% Renewable Energy with Environment America Research & Policy Center. “Now is the time to build the future we need, which means supporting the clean clean energy sector through the pandemic and incentivizing the broad deployment of clean energy technologies like solar at the federal level so we can advance a future powered entirely by renewable energy sources.”
The Top 5 leaders per capita overall:
- San Diego
- San Jose
The Top 5 leaders for total solar PV installed:
- Los Angeles
- San Diego
- San Antonio
In addition to the overall rankings, regional leaders for solar capacity per capita were Honolulu in the Pacific region; Las Vegas in the Mountain region; Indianapolis in the North Central region; San Antonio in the South Central region; Jacksonville, Florida, in the South Atlantic region; and Burlington, Vermont, in the Northeast region.
“Effective public policy can be as important as sunshine for cities looking to expand their solar capacity,” said Adrian Pforzheimer, report co-author and policy analyst at Frontier Group. “Cities can encourage solar in many ways, and a commitment to 100% renewable energy is often the strongest. These cities’ public policies are the driving force that sets them apart from their peers.”
News item from the Environment America Research & Policy Center