California cities make up five of the nation's 15 most solar-friendly cities, according to a report by the Environment California Research and Policy Center. Los Angeles and San Diego top the list, having installed the highest and second-highest solar photovoltaic (PV) capacities in the country, respectively. San Jose (5th), San Francisco (11th) and Sacramento (14th) also rank among the top cities.
The report, published earlier this summer, highlights the role American cities have had in augmenting the nation's energy structure with solar. According to Environment California, by the end of 2014 the top 65 American cities had installed more solar PV capacity than the entire country had at the end of 2009. Representing just 0.1 percent of U.S. land area, the top 20 of these cities account for seven percent of solar photovoltaic capacity in the United States.
By the end of 2014, the United States had 20,500 megawatts of cumulative solar electric capacity, enough to power four million average American homes.
According to Environment California, cities have been so instrumental in adopting renewable energy because they have the most to gain from the reduced air pollution, strengthened electric grids and economic growth that come with using photovoltaic solar panels.
While California hubs dominated the list of cities with the highest total solar capacity, they still showed plenty of room for growth. Only two California cities made the cut for the top 10 cities in terms of solar production per capita. Honolulu and Indianapolis sat atop this list, with San Jose and San Diego coming in at 3rd and 4th, respectively. Los Angeles, on the other hand, fell to a distant fifteenth.
Environment California Research & Policy Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting California's air, water and open spaces.
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