San Diego outshines most of nation on solar cities list
San Diego remains one of the top rooftop solar friendly cities in the country according to a recent report from Environment California.
The Shining Cities study found the nation’s solar power capacity has grown to 121.4 gigawatts, enough electricity to power 23 million homes. That is 16% of the nation’s homes.
America’s cities played a key role in the move toward more renewable power and San Diego held onto its spot as the U.S. city with the second-most solar power capacity on local rooftops with the ability to generate 468 megawatts of solar energy.
Los Angeles topped the list with a capacity of nearly 650 megawatts while other cities such as Las Vegas, Honolulu, and San Antonio rounded out the top five.
Nineteen U.S. cities had more than 100 watts of solar capacity for every resident at the end of 2021.
San Diego’s per capita total was 337.4 watts per person.
California continues to be a leader in the installation of solar power arrays with six of the state’s largest cities ranking in the nation’s top 20 solar adopters.
“Here in California, we now have over ten gigawatts of rooftop solar capacity which is really tremendous. That’s about a quarter of our overall electric use on any given day,” said Laura Deehan of Environment California.
The study found leading solar cities in all regions of the county.
In fact, Burlington, Vermont, Newark, New Jersey and Hartford, Connecticut all landed on the solar superstars list, even though they are located in the Northeast, a region not known for abundant sunlight.
The report suggests cities establish goals to hit 100% renewable power, streamline permitting for solar arrays and find ways to expand access to solar by including apartments, small businesses, and nonprofits.
The authors also call for more electric vehicle charging stations, microgrids and energy storage.
The Environment California report found that the expansion of rooftop solar is in jeopardy in California and other locations as utilities and fossil fuel groups try to slow the trend by pushing for policies that reduce financial incentives.
“If California and other states can continue to keep strong rooftop solar policies that's what it's really going to take in order to keep rooftop solar growing,” Deehan said.
The top nine cities in the report had more solar capacity than the entire country did 10 years ago.