Cities Pave the Way for U.S. Solar Power Growth

Published On
Apr 19, 2019

There are many ways to measure solar power's growth in the United States. According to a recent study, much of it is happening in major metropolitan areas.

In April, Environment America Research and Policy Center teamed up with the Frontier Group to publish the sixth annual Shining Cities report. The 2019 version surveys solar energy in America’s biggest cities.

The study includes findings that reflect on the expansion of solar power in U.S. cities and how those cities are contributing to solar's rise in the country overall. According to the report, 70 percent of the 57 cities that have been surveyed in all six annual versions have more than doubled their solar capacity since the first report. One-third of those cities have more than quadrupled their capacity.

The study notes that the United States now has over 60 gigawatts of solar photovoltaic capacity installed. That is enough to power one in every 11 homes in the country.

As major population centers and concentrations of electricity demand, cities are at the center of that trend. With millions of rooftops in their jurisdictions they also have tremendous potential for installed capacity.

Many cities in the report are designated as “Solar Stars” because they have installed over 50 watts of capacity per resident. The number of such cities has grown from eight to 23 in the six years since the first report.

According to the report, Honolulu leads the nation’s cities for solar power per person. Los Angeles leads the nation for total solar capacity. However, solar power growth in cities is not just a west coast trend. The study finds “Solar Stars” in every region, including Las Vegas; Indianapolis; San Antonio; Washington, D.C.; and Burlington, Vt.

Smaller cities are also jumping on the wagon. The study notes that Santa Fe, Calif.; Tallahassee, Fla.; and Trenton, N.J. have also earned the title of Solar Stars.

About the Author

Rick Laezman

Freelance Writer

Rick Laezman is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer who has been covering renewable power for more than 10 years. He may be reached at

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