City of Washington, D.C. moving ahead on solar power

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Environment America

Washington, D.C. – The city of Washington, D.C. ranks among country’s leaders in installed solar capacity, according to a new analysis released today by Environment America Research & Policy Center.

The report comes as 28 new solar arrays were recently installed on schools, police and fire stations, and other municipal buildings across the district.

“By using solar power here in Washington, D.C., we can reduce pollution and improve public health for everyday Americans,” said Bret Fanshaw with Environment America Research and Policy Center, report co-author. “To realize these benefits, Washington, D.C. city leaders should continue to embrace a big vision for solar on rooftops throughout the community.”

The report, Shining Cities: How Smart Local Policies Are Expanding Solar Power in America, ranks Washington, D.C. 18th for total installed solar capacity, ahead of cities like Jacksonville, Newark and Boston. In particular, Washington, D.C. has helped to grow solar by committing to 50 percent renewable energy by 2032.

The figures in the report reflect the recent growth of solar across the country. The top 20 cities listed in the report have nearly as much solar today as the entire country had installed in 2010. In 2016, solar was the number one new source of energy installed in America.

The Solar Foundation just released new data showing there are 4,066 people employed in solar in the DC- Arlington-Alexandria metro area as of year-end 2016, a 33 percent increase from 2015.

“Our city’s success in going solar shows what happens when people join together to fight for their energy rights,” said Anya Schoolman, President of DC SUN. “We hope D.C. can serve as a model for other cities to follow.”

Despite that growth, challenges remain for the solar industry as the Trump administration rolls back Obama-era policies designed to tackle climate change and encourage renewable energy.

Cities can push solar forward in a number of ways, according to the report. Among the recommendations, cities can set a goal for solar usage, help residents finance solar power and put solar on government buildings.

“Cities are big energy users with lots of unutilized roof space suitable for solar panels,” said Fanshaw from Environment America. “Washington, D.C. can continue to lead the way and protect our environment by using as much of its solar potential as possible.”


Environment America Research & Policy Center is a statewide environmental organization dedicated to protecting our air, water and open spaces.