Shining Cities 2016. How Smart Local Policies Are Expanding Solar in America

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Solar power grew at a record-breaking pace in 2015. The United States now has more than 27,000 megawatts (MW) of cumulative solar electric capacity, enough to power more than 5.4 million American homes. Hundreds of thousands of Americans – especially in our cities – have invested in solar panels on their roofs or solar projects in their communities, and millions more are ready to join them. 

America’s major cities have played a key role in the clean energy revolution and stand to reap tremendous benefits from solar energy. 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. 

As of the end of 2015, 20 cities – representing just 0.1 percent of U.S. land area – accounted for 6 percent of U.S. solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity. The 64 cities in this report have installed over 1,700 MW of solar PV capacity – nearly as much solar power as the entire country had installed at the end of 2010. Los Angeles leads the nation in total installed solar PV capacity, followed by San Diego, Phoenix, Honolulu and San Jose.

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