Seattle lags behind in solar power among major U.S cities, new report reveals

Media Contacts
Chris Connolly

Despite Seattle’s performance, nationwide solar capacity is booming

Environment Research and Policy Center

Seattle, WA- Seattle remains behind its peers in installing solar power, ranking 35th nationwide for solar energy capacity (per capita). 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 Washington Research & Policy Center. It is the most comprehensive survey available of installed solar capacity in major U.S. cities.

“While the Emerald City is behind the curve when it comes to installing solar power, the potential to harness clean energy from the sun remains vast,” said Chris Connolly, Fellow with Environment Washington Research & Policy Center. “With recent solar installations like the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict Project, I’m hopeful that Seattle will earn a higher place in future reports.”

Seattle ranked ahead of New York, NY and just behind Boise, ID for megawatts of solar energy capacity (per capita) as of year-end 2018. The city has used solar energy to meet local needs.

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 Seattle 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 in Seattle,” said Chris Connolly. “We still have a long way to go, but cities like Seattle are taking the steps necessary to power more homes, schools and businesses with clean energy from the sun.”

In addition to the report, Environment Washington 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.


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