City helps drive dramatic nationwide increase in solar capacity
SALT LAKE CITY – Salt Lake City ranked eleventh 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 2019: 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 ‘Crossroads of the West’ can also be known as one of America’s ‘Solar Stars’,” said Emma Searson, Go Solar Campaign advocate with Environment America Research & Policy Center. “Salt Lake City’s use of solar energy sets an example for the rest of the country.”
Salt Lake City ranked ahead of Los Angeles and just behind Albuquerque, New Mexico, for megawatts of solar energy capacity per capita as of year-end 2018. The city has used solar energy to protect public health by combating local air pollution and reduce global warming emissions as part of its commitment to achieving 100 percent renewable electricity city wide by 2032.
“We are thrilled to see Salt Lake City listed among the solar energy leaders in Shining Cities,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski. “Sustained development of solar resources is an essential pillar of our efforts to address climate change. Powering homes and businesses with clean, renewable energy creates jobs, reduces pollution, and offers stable electricity rates. I’m proud to see so many of our community members invest in a clean energy future!”
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 quadrupled in Salt Lake City 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 across the country,” said Searson. “We still have a long way to go, but leaders like Mayor Biskupski 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.