Shining Cities

Media Contacts
Nathan Murphy

The Top US Cities for Solar Energy

Environment Michigan Research and Policy Center

For Immediate Release: 

May 27, 2020

Media Contact: 

Nathan Murphy, State Director, Environment Michigan

517-303-8692          [email protected]

New study shows Michigan cities lagging in growing solar power

Untapped solar power potential exists in Michigan cities

Ann Arbor – Michigan cities lag behind their peers across the country in installing solar power in the last year in a ranking of cities nationwide for solar energy capacity (per capita). The results come from the seventh edition of Shining Cities: The Top US Cities for Solar Energy, a new report released today by Environment Michigan Research & Policy Center. It is the most comprehensive survey available of installed solar capacity in major U.S. cities.

“We know solar works in Michigan because we’ve seen a lot more built in the last several years,” said Nathan Murphy, State Director of Environment Michigan. “Unfortunately, we’re missing out on lots of solar opportunities in our cities. Our look around the country shows just how far behind we are when comparing Michigan cities with other cities,” he continued.

Beyond the findings in Michigan, the report examined national solar power in major cities over the past seven years. The analysis found that of the 57 cities surveyed in all seven editions of this report, almost 90 percent more than doubled their total installed solar PV capacity between 2013 and 2019.

Overall, this year’s Shining Cities survey ranked 70 of America’s major cities by solar energy capacity. Honolulu placed first overall for solar energy capacity per capita, while Los Angeles finished No. 1  in total solar energy capacity installed. Leaders in per capita solar capacity region were: Honolulu in the Pacific region; Las Vegas in the Mountain region; Indianapolis in the North Central region; San Antonio in the South Central region; Jacksonville, Fla., in the South Atlantic region; and Burlington, Vt., in the Northeast region.

These numbers show tremendous progress, but the continued implementation of key policies, like those outlined in Environment Michigan Research & Policy Center’s Renewables on the Rise report will be critical to keep clean energy growing.

“With the continued growth in solar at risk in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic, we must make smart policy choices in this space,” said Murphy. “That means taking steps to build the future we need, by investing in infrastructure that advances a future powered entirely by renewable energy sources.”


Environment Michigan Research and Policy Center works for clean air, clean water, clean energy, wildlife and open spaces, and a livable climate. Our members across the state put grassroots support behind our research and advocacy. Environment Michigan Research and Policy Center is part of Environment America, a national network of 29 state environmental groups.