City helps drive dramatic nationwide increase in solar capacity
New Orleans — New Orleans ranked 13th nationwide for solar energy 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: The Top U.S. Cities for Solar Energy, a new report released today by Environment America Research & Policy Center. It is the most comprehensive survey available of installed solar capacity in major U.S. cities.
“The Big Easy can also be known as one of America’s ‘Solar Stars’,” said Bret Fanshaw, Go Solar Campaign director with Environment America Research & Policy Center. “New Orleans’ use of solar energy sets an example for the rest of the country.”
New Orleans ranked ahead of Los Angeles and just behind San Antonio for watts of solar energy capacity per capita as of year-end 2018. The New Orleans City Council has taken steps to encourage solar deployment, including the approval of a community solar program last year.
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.
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 across the country,” said Fanshaw. “We still have a long way to go, but leaders like New Orleans are taking the steps necessary to power more homes, schools and businesses with clean energy from the sun.”
In addition to the report, Environment America 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 America Research & Policy Center is dedicated to protecting air, water and open space by investigating problems, crafting solutions, and educating the public.