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San Diego Ranks 2nd In US For Solar Energy Output

Photo caption: Phil Salas, project manager for the solar panel installation company Home Ene...

Photo by Katie Schoolov

Phil Salas, project manager for the solar panel installation company Home Energy Systems, stands in front of panels he and his crew installed on a San Diego home, Oct. 12, 2015.

San Diego ranks second in the U.S. in electrical output from solar energy, and fourth on a per-capita basis, according to the annual "Shining Cities" report released Friday by Environment California.

At the end of 2015, San Diego was producing 189 megawatts from its solar panels, 40 megawatts more than the year before, the report said. Only Los Angeles, with 215 megawatts, was higher.

San Diego was producing 136 watts per capita of solar power, fourth behind Honolulu, Indianapolis and San Jose, according to Environmental California. The per capita total at the end of 2014 was 110 watts.

Photo by Susan Murphy

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer stands with a group of environmental leaders at San Diego Lindbergh Field to announce the city's near-top national ranking in solar energy, April 8, 2016.

"San Diego continues to lead the way in solar energy and remains a shining example to other cities when it comes to improving our environment through innovation," Mayor Kevin Faulconer said. "Increasing solar energy will help reach our goal of 100 percent renewable energy use in the city by 2035 — a key element of San Diego's landmark Climate Action Plan."

Nicole Capretz, executive director of San Diego’s Climate Action Campaign, said that rooftop solar is key to the city’s 100 percent clean energy goal. She said that with ample rooftop and parking lot space, she expects the region to continue to pave the way in developing solar energy.

"What the report shows is that we need to get about 20 percent of that energy from rooftop solar and we’re at about one or two percent today," Captretz said. "So we still have a long ways to go, but the good news is we have unlimited potential."

The plan to address climate change was approved by the City Council in December, and includes a series of goals for generating clean power, energy efficiency, and the use of public transit.

Other cities high on the total solar output list were Phoenix, Honolulu, San Jose, Indianapolis, San Antonio, New York, Albuquerque and Las Vegas. While No. 1 for total output, Los Angeles ranked 15th on a per-capita basis.

With contributions by KPBS News reporter Susan Murphy.

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