San Diego ranked 2nd in U.S. for solar panel usage

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Solar panels on suburban Australian home

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The city of San Diego ranks second in the nation in both per capita and total installation and use of solar panels, according to a new report released by Environment America.

The “Shining Cities 2020” report, a study on solar capacity in major U.S. cities, surveyed 57 municipalities and found more solar capacity was added to the grid nationwide than any other energy source over the last year.

Environment America is a federation of state-based environmental advocacy organizations.

“The city of San Diego continues to be a shining example for other cities to follow in the fight against climate change, with record solar installations and our push for 100% renewable energy citywide,” Mayor Kevin Faulconer said. “Now, as we’re grappling with a pandemic that has had a devastating impact across the globe, it is more crucial than ever that climate action also drives our economy by creating jobs for the future, reducing energy costs for families and businesses, and building a more sustainable future for all.”

San Diego ranked second behind Honolulu in the amount of solar photovoltaic systems installed per capita and second behind Los Angeles for the total amount of solar PV installed. The report also lists San Diego among its “Solar Stars,” cities with 50 or more watts of solar photovoltaic capacity installed per capita.

San Diego has installed 420.38 megawatts of panels and has an average of 294.8 watts per capita. Another metric that Environment America measures is how much potential space on small buildings could be used for more panels in the future. Itt found the city has capacity for 2,219 megawatts of panels.

With a goal of achieving 100% renewable energy use citywide by 2035, the city has ramped up the installation of solar photovoltaic systems on municipal facilities. In 2019, Faulconer announced 17 solar power projects at city-owned facilities that are estimated to save about $12.5 million over the next 20 years.

A project underway at the Miramar Water Treatment Plant includes the installation of a one megawatt system, which would generate enough power for about 240 homes per year.

According to the most recent Climate Action Plan annual report, the city has seen a 4.9% increase in job growth in the renewable energy sector since 2010.

Last year’s Shining Cities report also had San Diego ranked in the No. 2 spot for installed solar panels.

“San Diego has been a consistent leader on climate action,” Chief Sustainability Officer Cody Hooven said. “This recognition shows that San Diegans are taking simple, actionable and cost-saving steps by going solar and supporting a clean energy future.”

Residents who wish to install panels of their own can visit sandiego.gov/development-services/permits/solar-photovoltaic-permit.

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