LAS VEGAS - Las Vegas ranks among the nation’s leaders in solar power, according to new analysis of installed solar capacity released today by Environment Nevada Research & Policy Center.
The report, Shining Cities: How Smart Local Policies Are Expanding Solar Power in America, ranks Las Vegas sixth for solar per capita and tenth for total solar installed, ahead of cities like San Francisco, New Orleans and Sacramento.
“The city of Las Vegas has long been a leader in sustainability, from promoting green buildings and recycling to the use of solar energy,” said Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn G. Goodman. “In 2016 the city reached its goal of becoming 100 percent reliant on only renewable energy to power our government buildings, streetlights and facilities. The city will continue to build community to make life better today and for future generations.”
The figures in the report reflect the recent growth of solar across the country. The top 20 cities listed in the report have nearly as much solar today as the entire country had installed in 2010. In 2016, solar was the number one new source of energy installed in America.
Significant challenges to the future of solar remain. Nevada’s key rooftop solar policy, net metering, was rolled back by the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada at the behest of NV Energy in 2015. State lawmakers are considering a bill to restore net metering and place a value on the environmental benefits of solar power.
“By using solar power in Las Vegas, we can reduce pollution and improve public health for everyday Nevadans,” said Bret Fanshaw with Environment Nevada Research and Policy Center, report co-author. “We applaud city leaders for embracing a big vision for solar, and we urge state leaders to support policies that help people in Nevada access solar power on their roofs.”
Cities can push solar forward in a number of ways, according to the report. Among the recommendations, cities can set a goal for solar usage, help residents finance solar power and put solar on government buildings.
The report also shows that while Las Vegas is a solar leader, it currently only uses 8 percent of its solar potential, according to data from the US Department of Energy.
"We're proud and excited about Las Vegas being ranked sixth in the country for solar per capita,” said Annette Bubak, President, NVESP - GREEN Alliance. “We're dedicated to moving the ball forward through a progressive legislative session, community awareness, stakeholder engagement and businesses of all sizes thriving. We hope to see more solar installed on rooftops across Las Vegas this year and into the future."
Environment Nevada Research & Policy Center is a statewide environmental organization dedicated to protecting our air, water and open spaces.