Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

20 Cities Leading America's Solar Revolution

Energy
20 Cities Leading America's Solar Revolution

By Environment America Research & Policy Center

Sixty-four major American cities are now home to almost as much solar capacity as the entire country had installed at the end of the 2010, according to a new analysis, which ranks America's major cities for their solar power.

Solar panels atop of the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo credit: Georgia Tech Research Institute

“Thanks to forward-thinking policies and the vision of local government leaders," said Bret Fanshaw, solar program coordinator with Environment America and report co-author, “these cities really shine when it comes to solar power."

Los Angeles, San Diego and Phoenix topped the list for most solar power in the Environment America Research & Policy Center analysis, Shining Cities 2016: How Smart Local Policies Are Expanding Solar Power in America.

Co-authored with the Frontier Group, the report shows Honolulu, Indianapolis and San Jose have the most solar panels per capita. Cities outside the nation's Sun Belt ranked in the top 20 include Newark, New Jersey, New York and Washington, DC.

Plummeting costs, environmental concerns and technological innovation have all played a role in spurring the growth of solar energy, which last year was enough to power 5.4 million American homes.

The report found cities at the vanguard of the nation's solar boom, with the top 20 solar cities—representing just 0.1 percent of U.S. land area—accounting for 6 percent of U.S. solar photovoltaic capacity at the end of 2015.

As population centers, cities are home to ample rooftop space and large electricity markets. Through power purchase agreements, promoting community solar programs and installing solar on government property, city governments can play a leading role in developing solar energy.

“The cities that are adding solar power the fastest are those that have made it a policy priority," said Kim Norman, policy analyst at the Frontier Group and report co-author. “This report shows that government is a key player in the effort to repower the U.S. with renewable energy."

While solar power is soaring, utility companies are campaigning intensely to increase fees for rooftop solar, which they see as a direct threat to their business model.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court has also stalled the Clean Power Plan, an Obama administration initiative to cap carbon pollution from power plants and provide incentives for clean energy like solar.

Environment America urged cities to continue to move forward with solar power development in spite of these attacks.

“Cities have been at the forefront of environmental change for decades," said Fanshaw. “And there's no reason for them to stop now. The polluters can't change the fact that solar power makes sense for our climate, our health and our wallets."

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft File Amicus Brief in Support of the Clean Power Plan

This Must-See Documentary Shows the Future of Solar Power Is Here Today

David Suzuki: Tapping Earth's Abundant Geothermal Energy

Is Rooftop Solar Cheaper Than Buying Electricity From the Grid?

By Liz Kimbrough

Six grassroots environmental activists will receive the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize in a virtual ceremony this year. Dubbed the "Green Nobel Prize," this award is given annually to environmental heroes from each of the world's six inhabited continents.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Mount Ili Lewotolok spews ash during a volcanic eruption in Lembata, East Nusa Tenggara on November 29, 2020. Joy Christian / AFP / Getty Images

A large volcano in Indonesia erupted Sunday, sending a plume of smoke and ash miles into the air and forcing thousands of residents to evacuate the region.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Kaavan in Islamabad, Pakistan on Sept. 4, 2020. Arne Immanuel Bänsch / picture alliance via Getty Images

With help from music icon Cher, the "world's loneliest elephant" has found a new home and, hopefully, a new family.

Read More Show Less
Climate change is causing leaves to change color and fall earlier in the year. Pxfuel

By Philip James

As the days shorten and temperatures drop in the northern hemisphere, leaves begin to turn. We can enjoy glorious autumnal colors while the leaves are still on the trees and, later, kicking through a red, brown and gold carpet when out walking.

Read More Show Less
Kevin Russ / Moment / Getty Images

By Kang-Chun Cheng

Modoc County lies in the far northeast corner of California, and most of its 10,000 residents rely on cattle herding, logging, or government jobs for employment. Rodeos and 4-H programs fill most families' calendars; massive belt buckles, blue jeans, and cowboy hats are common attire. Modoc's niche brand of American individualism stems from a free-spirited cowboy culture that imbues the local ranching conflict with wild horses.

Read More Show Less