New study ranks New York the No. 6 solar city in the nation

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Josh Chetwynd

Big Apple helps drive dramatic nationwide increase in solar capacity

Environment New York

NEW YORK – New York ranked sixth nationwide for solar energy capacity, 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 New York Research & Policy Center. It is the most comprehensive survey available of installed solar capacity in major U.S. cities.

While New York ranked sixth for total solar capacity installed, it ranked 36th for solar capacity installed per capita, behind many other large U.S. cities, according to the report.

“While the Big Apple is a leader in overall installed solar capacity, it has room to catch up on other major American cities when it comes to the amount of solar per resident,” said Emma Searson, Go Solar Campaign advocate with Environment New York Research & Policy Center. “The potential to harness more clean energy from the sun remains vast in New York, and with a goal of reaching 350 MW of installed solar capacity citywide by 2025, I’m hopeful that New York will earn a higher place in future reports.”

New York ranked ahead of San Antonio and behind San Jose for megawatts of solar energy capacity as of year-end 2018, and ranked between Raleigh and Seattle for watts of solar energy capacity per capita. The city has used solar energy as a key part of its mission to be a leader in combating climate change and ensure clean air for its residents.

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 New York 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 New York are taking the steps necessary to power more homes, schools and businesses with clean energy from the sun.”

In addition to the report, Environment New York 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 New York Research & Policy Center is dedicated to protecting air, water and open space by investigating problems, crafting solutions and educating the public.