New study ranks Phoenix the No. 3 solar city in the nation

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Josh Chetwynd

Phoenix helps drive dramatic nationwide increase in solar capacity

Environment America

Phoenix – Phoenix ranked third nationwide for total solar energy installed and sixth in solar capacity per capita, landing it among the nation’s leaders for installing clean energy from the sun. The results come from the sixth edition of Shining Cities 2019: The Top U.S. Cities for Solar Energy, a new report released today by Environment Arizona Research & Policy Center. It is the most comprehensive survey available of installed solar capacity in major U.S. cities.

“The heart of the Valley of the Sun can also be known as one of America’s ‘Solar Stars’,” said Bret Fanshaw, Director of Environment Arizona and Environment America’s Go Solar campaign. “Phoenix’s use of solar energy sets an example for the rest of the country.”

Phoenix ranked ahead of Indianapolis and just behind Las Vegas for watts of solar energy capacity per capita as of year-end 2018. Phoenix has installed 32 MW of solar on city property and aims to be carbon neutral by 2060.

“I am proud that Phoenix is third in the nation for the amount of solar installed,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. “The Southwest is the sunniest region in the country, so there is more work to be done to fully capitalize on this resource. The City of Phoenix is leading by example with more solar installed on city property than any other city in the U.S., and we have plans to install even more.”

In addition to the annual rankings, the report examined national solar power in major cities over the past six years. The analysis found that from 2013 to 2018, solar energy capacity more than doubled in 45 of 57 of America’s largest cities.  Solar energy capacity more than doubled in Phoenix during this time, according to the report.

Yet, the report also found that all of the cities in the study could install far more solar energy capacity than they currently have. According the report, 33 cities could install at least 50 times as much solar PV as they currently have installed in total on their small building rooftops alone.

“Each year we harness more and more of the enormous solar energy potential in Phoenix,” said Fanshaw. “We still have a long way to go, but leaders like Phoenix are taking the steps necessary to power more homes, schools and businesses with clean energy from the sun.”

In addition to the report, Environment Arizona Research & Policy Center also released a new guide, “Ten Ways Your Community Can Go Solar”, a resource for local officials and community members who want to take action and bring more solar to their cities and towns.

This year’s Shining Cities survey ranks 69 of the nation’s major cities by solar energy capacity. Honolulu ranks first overall for solar energy capacity per capita, while Los Angeles places No. 1 in total solar energy capacity installed. Regional leaders for solar capacity per capita were Burlington, Vt. in the Northeast; Washington, D.C. in the South Atlantic; San Antonio in the South Central region; Indianapolis in the North Central region; Las Vegas in the Mountain region and Honolulu in the Pacific region.


Environment Arizona Research & Policy Center is dedicated to protecting air, water and open space by investigating problems, crafting solutions and educating the public.