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North Carolina cities highlighted in new report on solar power progress

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RALEIGH — Charlotte ranked 27th nationwide for total solar energy capacity, landing it among the region’s leaders for installing clean energy from the sun. Raleigh followed closely on Charlotte’s heels coming in at 33rd for total solar energy capacity. The results come from the sixth edition of Shining Cities: The Top U.S. Cities for Solar Energy, a new report released today by Environment North Carolina Research & Policy Center. It is the most comprehensive survey available of installed solar capacity in major U.S. cities.

“The Queen City and the City of Oaks can also be known as two of America’s ‘Solar Builders’,” said Drew Ball, director of Environment North Carolina Research & Policy Center. “These cities’ use of solar energy sets an example for the rest of the state and country.”

Charlotte ranked 41st in megawatts of solar energy capacity per capita as of year-end 2018, ahead of Orlando, FL and just behind Cincinnati, OH. Raleigh ranked 37th for megawatts of solar energy capacity per capita, just ahead of Baltimore, MD and just behind New York City, NY. These cities are using solar energy to reduce local air pollution and combat climate change.

In addition to the annual rankings, the report examined national solar power in major cities over the past six years. The analysis found that from 2013 to 2018, solar energy capacity more than doubled in 45 of 57 of America’s largest cities. Solar energy capacity more than doubled in Charlotte and Raleigh during this time, according to the report.

Yet, the report also found that all of the cities in the study could install far more solar energy capacity than they currently have. According the report, 33 cities could install at least 50 times as much solar PV as they currently have installed in total on their small building rooftops alone.

In addition to the report, Environment North Carolina Research & Policy Center also released a new guide, “Ten Ways Your Community Can Go Solar”, a resource for local officials and community members who want to take action and bring more solar to their cities and towns.

This year’s Shining Cities survey ranks 69 of the nation’s major cities by solar energy capacity. Honolulu ranks first overall for solar energy capacity per capita, while Los Angeles places No. 1  in total solar energy capacity installed. Regional leaders for solar capacity per capita were Burlington, Vt. in the Northeast; Washington, D.C. in the South Atlantic; San Antonio in the South Central region; Indianapolis in the North Central region; Las Vegas in the Mountain region and Honolulu in the Pacific region.

Environment North Carolina Research & Policy Center is dedicated to protecting air, water and open space by investigating problems, crafting solutions and educating the public.

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