Portland has more solar panels than most major American cities, ranking 18th among dozens of metropolitan areas that were analyzed in a new report. Portland’s spot in the top 20 was owed primarily in part to programs like Solarize Portland and Solar Forward, according to the new Environment Oregon Research and Policy Center report, which provides a comparative look at the growth of solar in major American cities.
Los Angeles, San Diego, and Phoenix topped the list for most solar power installations in the Environment Oregon Research & Policy Center analysis, Shining Cities: Harnessing the Benefits of Solar Energy in America.
“Portland is a star when it comes to solar power,” said Rikki Seguin, Lead Advocate of Environment Oregon. “We hope Oregon’s state leaders and other Oregon cities will follow the Rose City’s shining example.”
Solar power is on the rise across the country, with another panel or project installed every three minutes last year. Plummeting costs, increasing public concern over global warming and energy independence, and technological innovation have all played a role in spurring the growth of the pollution-free energy source. As population centers, cities are home to large electricity markets and can have an important influence on the way grids are powered.
“The City of Portland is on track to make solar, wind and biogas supply 100 percent of all electricity in City operations. And we hope to be there soon. As a pollution-free energy source, solar energy is an important part of the City’s overall strategy to protect the climate and reduce carbon emissions,” said Portland Mayor Charlie Hales.
Several local businesses and agencies are seeing both the environmental and financial benefits of going Solar. TriMet has been a positive role model and leader in solar initiatives in Portland.
“TriMet is proud to advance renewable solar energy pilot projects along the MAX Orange Line corridor,” said Agency Architect Bob Hastings. “Nearly every MAX platform shelter along the new line includes solar panels, which help offset the power usage required at stations. By integrating solar energy into the architecture of our regional transit system, it makes these technologies more mainstream and enhances the quality of our riders’ experience.”
Even more, according to researchers who examined solar power installations in 65 American cities in nearly every state, Portland had enough solar energy online at the end of last year to power nearly 2,100 homes.
“With prices going down and concern about global warming going up, solar power is growing rapidly in our state,” said Seguin. “We need state leaders to continue the policies that allow solar to shine.”
Read the full report here.