By Carol Tucker
It’s no surprise that the city of Los Angeles has its share of stars, but once again our city has the brightest star in the nation when it comes to solar power.
For the second straight year, Los Angeles leads the nation in total installed solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity among the 69 cities surveyed for the Shining Cities 2019: The Top U.S. Cities for Solar Energy report released this month (April 2019) by the Environment America Research & Policy Center.
According to the report, “Los Angeles retained the top spot in 2018, as it did from 2013 to 2015 and in 2017, after briefly being topped by San Diego in 2016. Since 2016, Los Angeles has added over 150 MW of solar capacity.”
LADWP General Manager David H. Wright credits the ranking to the vibrant and diverse communities of Los Angeles that have embraced solar. “This achievement is a testament to the enthusiasm of Los Angeles residents and businesses for going solar,” said Wright. “I would like to thank our customers and communities for working with us diligently over the years to create local solar programs that deliver on the promise of solar power – environmentally, economically, and equitably.”
At the end of 2018, Los Angeles had nearly 420 total megawatts (MW-DC) of installed local solar power—a 20 percent increase over last year. That amount of clean energy is enough to power approximately 115,500 homes in Los Angeles and save 241,101 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions — the equivalent of removing 51,869 gas-fueled cars off the road.
Los Angeles also moved up from 15th to 14th in the rankings of solar PV per person, with 105 solar watts per person—a 20 percent increase over the prior year. “The improvement in solar per capita is especially gratifying when you consider the high density of population per square mile in Los Angeles, which reflects a higher concentration of multi-family housing, compared to lower density cities that have higher rankings,” said Jason Rondou, Manager of Strategic Development and Programs.
“Going forward, we expect more residents to benefit from solar power as we expand our local solar programs, including Feed-in Tariff and Community Solar,” Rondou said. LADWP launched another new pilot program called Shared Solar in May 2019. Shared Solar is designed to create solar access for communities with low solar installations and customers who cannot install their own solar systems.
View the Shining Cities 2019 report.