Top 20 U.S. Solar Cities

05/08/2018 | By Justin Feit

Top 20 Solar Cities by Total Installed Solar PV Capacity, End of 2017

  1. Los Angeles
  2. San Diego
  3. Honolulu
  4. Phoenix
  5. San Jose, CA
  6. San Antonio
  7. New York
  8. Indianapolis
  9. Denver
  10. Las Vegas
  11. Albuquerque, NM
  12. Sacramento, CA
  13. Washington
  14. San Francisco
  15. Jacksonville, FL
  16. New Orleans
  17. Austin, TX
  18. Riverside, CA
  19. Boston
  20. Portland, OR

Los Angeles holds onto its place at the top of solar cities in the U.S., according to Shining Cities 2018, a report outlining the cities and communities leading in solar energy production. After Los Angeles, other warm climates unsurprisingly dominated the list with San Diego, Honolulu, Phoenix and San Jose, CA, rounding out the top five. 

Shining Cities was produced by Environment Texas and Frontier Group and is a progress report of solar energy production in the U.S. It outlines the solar cities that have made the most progress and lays out policy plans to continue growth.

“America’s major cities have played a key role in the clean energy revolution and stand to reap tremendous benefits from solar energy,” notes the report. “As population centers, they are major sources of electricity demand and, with millions of rooftops suitable for solar panels, they have the potential to be major sources of clean energy as well.”

“Solar Stars” and Other High Performing Solar Cities

The report pays special attention to its “Solar Stars,” or cities with 50 or more watts of solar photovoltaic capacity installed per person. Honolulu, the national leader, has nearly three times as much solar PV per capita as the next city, San Diego.

In each census region, the leaders include:

  • Pacific: Honolulu
  • Mountain: Las Vegas
  • North Central: Indianapolis
  • South Central: San Antonio
  • South Atlantic: Washington
  • Northeast: Burlington, VT

The report also recognizes smaller cities and communities that are investing in solar energy. One of the smaller solar cities with noteworthy solar production is Fresno, CA, which produces more solar energy per capita than any large city, other than Honolulu.

Other small cities with high rates of solar energy production include Santa Fe, NM, and Tucson, AZ, which would both rank among the top “Solar Stars.”

Moving Forward with Solar Cities

The report notes that the U.S. is only beginning to harness the potential of solar energy, claiming that some listed cities could generate hundreds of times more solar power.

Related: Smart Sensor Technology: Reducing HVAC Energy Use

“Cities can go even farther by encouraging solar installations on large buildings and stand-alone utility-scale installations,” states the report. “To take advantage of that potential and move America toward an economy powered by 100% renewable energy, city, state and federal governments should adopt a series of pro-solar policies.”


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