Portland one of fastest growing cities in the country for solar energy

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Carissa Maurin

Portland helps drive dramatic nationwide increase in solar capacity

Environment Maine Research & Policy Center

Portland – Portland ranked 25th 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 Maine Research & Policy Center. It is the most comprehensive survey available of installed solar capacity in major U.S. cities.

“Portland can also be known as one of America’s ‘Solar Leaders’,” said Carissa Maurin, state director with Environment Maine Research & Policy Center. “Portland’s use of solar energy sets an example for the rest of the country.”

Solar energy capacity nearly doubled in Portland during 2018, according to the report. Portland jumped 7 spots in the rankings this year for solar energy installed per resident – rising further than all but one other city in the country.  

Portland ranked ahead of Providence, RI and just behind Portland, OR for megawatts of solar energy capacity per capita as of year-end 2018. The city’s largest and newest solar array can supply 3 percent of the city government’s electricity each year, enough to power City Hall and Merrill Auditorium.

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 in Maine,” said Carissa Maurin. “We still have a long way to go, but leaders like Portland are taking the steps necessary to power more homes, schools and businesses with clean energy from the sun.”

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 Maine Research & Policy Center is dedicated to protecting air, water and open space by investigating problems, crafting solutions and educating the public.