Illinois Mayors join national coalition to call for a solar energy future

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Josh Chetwynd

Group of 300 elected officials from every state sign on to “Mayors for Solar Energy” letter

Environment Illinois

Chicago, Illinois – Illinois mayors representing 17 cities across our state have joined a list of over 300 across the U.S. in signing on to a letter calling for a future powered by more clean renewable solar power, released today by Environment Illinois Research & Policy Center. The group of “Mayors for Solar Energy” committed to this cause is bipartisan and represents cities of all sizes spanning all 50 states.

Mayors from Illinois who signed onto the letter include Mayor Steve Hagerty, Mayor Nancy Rotering, Mayor Thomas P. McNamara of Rockford, Mayor Chris Lain of Savanna, and 13 others. 

“Solar energy is charging forward at a pace we once thought to be impossible, and America’s cities are at the forefront of spurring that progress,” said Ben Sonnega, Go Solar Campaign Associate with Environment Illinois Research and Policy Center. “Local officials are unlocking the power of the sun by taking advantage of millions of available rooftops and broad public support to bring cleaner, greener and more resilient energy to their communities.”

Mayors involved in this effort are not only signing on to this letter, but are also speaking publicly about the importance of solar power. 

“I see tremendous interest in the potential of solar energy meeting our sustainability goals and energy needs,” said Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara. “With that in mind, we’ve embraced the opportunity to review our processes and streamline solar permitting.” 

For its efforts, Rockford has earned a Gold Solsmart designation, which is awarded to cities, counties and regional organizations that make it faster, easier and more affordable to go solar. Rockford is also partnering with local institutions in their efforts.

“We are proud of our solar partnerships with local non-profit Sustain Rockford in solar education and Trajectory Energy on a Solar for All project on a City-owned brownfield site,” said McNamara. “I look forward to seeing the impact these projects will have for our residents in the future.”

The mayors here in Illinois also recognize the wide array of benefits beyond environmental protection. Locally sourcing solar power is not only a win for the health of their constituents, but it’s also smart governance. 

The Mayors for Solar Energy project goes beyond the letter itself, including resources such as the Ten Ways Your Community Can Go Solar policy toolkit and webinar trainings to help cities in  adopt more renewable energy. 

“Mayors for Solar Energy is proof that regardless of geography, demographics or political affiliation, local leaders understand how beneficial solar can be for a wide array of communities,” Sonnega said. “The future of energy will be clean and close to home, and these mayors represent the first wave of leaders who will bring the benefits of solar to communities coast-to-coast.”


Environment Illinois Research & Policy Center is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to protecting our air, water and open spaces. We work to protect the places we love, advance the environmental values we share, and win real results for our environment. Environment Illinois Research & Policy Center is part of The Public Interest Network, which runs organizations committed to our vision of a better world, a set of core values, and a strategic approach to getting things done.