Solar is growing rapidly every day. And now that spring has sprung, the solar story is about to get extra hot. Cities are taking notice of solar. Did your city make the list of top ten solar-friendly states?
Environment America Research & Policy Center recently investigated how cities are participating in the solar movement. The report, “Shining Cities: Harnessing the Benefits of Solar Energy in America,” determined “65 American cities account for 7 percent of U.S.’s 20,500 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity, more than all the solar installed in the country in 2009. And the top 20 cities were the leaders, accounting for 6.5 percent of the country’s solar capacity but using just .1 percent of its land.”
Sunny cities such as Los Angeles, Phoenix, Honolulu and Denver unaspiringly made the list. Other cities embracing the power of solar include Indianapolis, Portland and Boston.
These solar cities, and those following closely in their footsteps, are recognizing the environmental and economic power of solar energy. Solar has helped cities control pollution, which affects public and environmental health, and create local jobs, boost local economies and reduce the threat of climate changes.
The report addresses the importance of pro-solar policies on the local and state levels. “Cities can reap the benefits of clean, solar energy by adopting pro-solar policies and taking actions that will encourage innovation and investment in the solar industry,” it says. “Many leading cities have successfully built their solar energy markets with local government policies. Some leading cities are in states that have taken state-level action to promote solar energy adoption.”
These positive solar policies have a significant impact on a cities ability to rapidly adopt solar. Due to Colorado’s strong solar policies, Denver doubled its solar capacity from 24 to 58 MW in 2014 alone.
“Demand for clean renewable power is growing,” said Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. These states are taking huge steps forward in making solar an easy and obvious choice for energy generation. As solar adoption continues to grow, federal, state and local governments need to follow the lead of these cities and embrace pro-solar policies.