Power Building: L.A. No. 1 for solar as more American cities tap into the sun

Environment America

Los Angeles – Once again, Los Angeles is having its moment in the sun. After ceding first place to San Diego last year, the City of Angels ranks as America’s number one city for its amount of solar energy, according to Shining Cities 2018: How Smart Local Policies Are Expanding Solar Power in America, a report released today by Environment America Research & Policy Center and its state affiliates.

“We’re proud to lead American cities in the movement to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Every investment we make in solar is an investment in the health and well-being of Angelenos today and for years to come.”

San Diego, Honolulu, Phoenix and San Jose, CA, rounded out the top five cities in this year’s rankings. Honolulu once again took the top spot for solar energy per capita.

“I made a commitment to transform Honolulu’s public and private ground transportation to 100 percent renewable energy by 2045, and solar will play a huge role,” said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. “This technology is rapidly improving and becoming even more widespread.”

While you’d expect California and Hawaii to take advantage of solar power, places not known for sunshine are also adopting solar energy. Cities such as Indianapolis, Newark and Boston ranked highly in this year’s report.

“Research shows that effective public policies — even more than the availability of sunlight — are the key to making cities solar leaders,” said Abigail Bradford, a Frontier Group policy associate who co-authored the Shining Cities report.

Cities like Philadelphia have pledged to do more to move to renewable power.

“Philadelphia is committed to reducing carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050 and transitioning to a 100 percent clean energy future,” said Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney. “Solar energy is a critical tool that not only helps us achieve these goals, but also creates local jobs and helps reduce utility costs for residents.”

While L.A. surpassed it at the top of the list, San Diego maintained high marks in both total and per capita solar.

“We’ve set an ambitious goal to use 100 percent renewable energy citywide and a big part of getting there will be continuing to expand the use of solar each and every year,” said San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer.

Each year, the survey ranks nearly 70 of the nation’s major cities by megawatts of solar energy. This year’s report shows that the top 20 solar cities, comprising just 0.1 percent of the country’s land mass, account for 4 percent of U.S. solar capacity.

“We are in a moment when progress on renewable energy will come from cities across the country,” said Bret Fanshaw, Solar Program Director with Environment America and report co-author. “More local leaders should step up and start plugging their communities into the clean and virtually limitless power of the sun.”