Four Florida cities ranked among the nation’s leaders in solar capacity, according, a new report released on Tuesday by Environment Florida Research and Policy Center.
Entitled Shining Cities: The Top U.S. Cities for Solar Energy, the study, which is in its seventh edition, is the most comprehensive survey available of installed solar capacity in major U.S. cities.
Jacksonville (ranked 19th), Tampa (ranked 29th), Orlando (ranked 32nd), and Miami (ranked 53rd) were all included in the nationwide list of 70 cities highlighted for their solar capacity.
“Florida’s leadership on solar has not only provided residents with clean, renewable power, but has also given other cities an excellent example on how to make it happen,” said Ryann Lynn, a climate and clean energy advocate with Environment Florida Research and Policy Center. “Despite the current slowdown in solar development due to COVID-19, the remarkable progress of the past year is worth highlighting.”
Beyond the findings in Florida, the report examined national solar power in major cities. The analysis found that of the 57 cities surveyed in all seven editions of this report, almost 90 percent more than doubled their total installed solar PV capacity between 2013 and 2019.
Overall, this year’s Shining Cities survey ranked Honolulu first overall for solar energy capacity per capita, while Los Angeles finished No. 1 in total solar energy capacity installed. Leaders in regional per capita solar capacity were: Washington D.C. in the South Atlantic, Honolulu in the Pacific region; Las Vegas in the Mountain region; Indianapolis in the North Central region; San Antonio in the South Central region; and Burlington, Vt., in the Northeast region.
Because the report focuses on larger cities, Tallahassee was not included on the list. However, it’s important to note that the city’s 64-megawatt solar farm, which is located at the Tallahassee International Airport, provides more than enough energy to be ranked a “Solar Star” if the city’s size had reached the study’s population threshold.
“As the capital city of Florida, Tallahassee continues to lead in taking bold steps to achieve our goal of 100 percent net clean renewable energy by 2050,” said Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey. “With the completion of our second solar farm at our airport, we are a national leader producing 328 watts of solar energy per resident, and we are the first city in Florida to power 100 percent of our city buildings with solar energy.”
These numbers show tremendous progress, but the continued implementation of key policies, like those outlined in Environment Florida Research and Policy Center’s Renewables on the Rise report will be critical to keeping clean energy growing.
“With the continued growth in solar at risk in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic, we must make smart policy choices in this space,” said Lynn. “That means taking steps to build the future we need, by investing in infrastructure that advances a future powered entirely by renewable energy sources.”