SALT LAKE CITY — Move over Los Angeles. There's a new star on the block when it comes to solar energy, and it is the city of salt, not the city of angels, that ranks higher nationally.
A new report ranking solar energy capacity installed per person puts Salt Lake City in the No. 11 position, and Los Angeles at No. 14 in the country.
Put out this week by the Environment America Research and Policy Center, the Shining Cities report is described as the most comprehensive survey available of installed solar capacity in major U.S. cities.
While Los Angeles does come in first for total installed photovoltaic solar capacity with nearly 420 megawatts — and Salt Lake City fails to crack even the top 20 sitting at No. 21 — the per capita measurement is one to celebrate, leaders say.
"We are thrilled to see Salt Lake City listed among the solar energy leaders in Shining Cities,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski.
“Sustained development of solar resources is an essential pillar of our efforts to address climate change. Powering homes and businesses with clean, renewable energy creates jobs, reduces pollution and offers stable electricity rates. I’m proud to see so many of our community members invest in a clean energy future!”
The city was hailed for its efforts to reduce emissions in its renewable energy goal of committing to be net 100 percent renewable energy by 2032.
"Each year we harness more and more of the enormous solar energy potential across the country,” said Emma Searson, the Go Solar Campaign advocate with the center.
“We still have a long way to go, but leaders like Mayor Biskupski are taking the steps necessary to power more homes, schools and businesses with clean energy from the sun,” she said.
The sixth annual survey points to the rapid adoption of solar energy in both the commercial and residential sector, emphasizing that the United States has more than 60 gigawatts of solar photovoltaic capacity installed, or enough to power one in every 11 homes.
Of 57 cities surveyed in each of the annual reports, 79 percent more than doubled their capacity in the last five years.
Salt Lake City is one of 23 cities across the country ranked as a solar star for the amount of capacity per person, in this case nearly 127 direct current watts per person.
In the per capita ranking, Honolulu came in No. 1 with 646.4 watts per person and at No. 10, inching out Salt Lake City, Albuquerque delivers 128.9 watts per person.