Georgia cities highlighted in new report on solar power progress

Atlanta and Athens lead as solar capacity continues to grow nationwide
For Immediate Release

Atlanta, GA - Atlanta has doubled its solar capacity in the last five years and is climbing in the rankings while Athens trails New York City for solar per capita. Results come from the seventh edition of Shining Cities:The Top U.S. Cities for Solar, a new report released today by Environment Georgia Research & Policy Center. It is the most comprehensive survey available of installed solar capacity in major U.S. cities.

“‘Hotlanta’ is climbing in the rankings after slipping for several years and Athens is punching way above its weight class, it is great to see Georgia’s cities leading the solar charge,” said Jennette Gayer, director with Environment Georgia Research & Policy Center. “Atlanta and Athens provide residents with clean, renewable power, and gives other cities an excellent example to follow. Despite the current slowdown in solar development due to COVID-19, both cities have a clear plan to continue this progress towards a clean, just and affordable energy future coming out of the crisis.”

“Athens is proud to help lead the fight against climate change, with a strong solar per capita ranking and our push for 100 percent renewable energy,” said Athens Mayor Kelly Girtz. “Now, as we’re grappling with a pandemic that has had a devastating impact across the globe, it is more crucial than ever that climate action also drives our economy by creating jobs for the future, reducing energy costs for families and businesses, and building a more sustainable future for all.”

Beyond the findings in Georgia, the report examined national solar power in major cities over the past seven years. The analysis found that of the 57 cities surveyed in all seven editions of this report, almost 90 percent more than doubled their total installed solar PV capacity between 2013 and 2019.

Overall, this year’s Shining Cities survey ranked 70 of America’s major cities by solar energy capacity. Honolulu placed first overall for solar energy capacity per capita, while Los Angeles finished No. 1  in total solar energy capacity installed. Leaders in per capita solar capacity by region were: Honolulu in the Pacific region; Las Vegas in the Mountain region; Indianapolis in the North Central region; San Antonio in the South Central region; Jacksonville, Fla., in the South Atlantic region; and Burlington, Vt., in the Northeast region.

These numbers show tremendous progress, but the continued implementation of key policies, like those outlined in Environment Georgia Research & Policy Center’s Renewables on the Rise report will be critical to keep clean energy growing.

“Emory’s longstanding commitment to sustainability and reducing carbon emissions is central to many aspects of the university’s mission—promoting education, research, and public health while stewarding our resources wisely,” said Ciannat Howett, Associate Vice President with Emory University. “Embracing sustainability allows Emory to enact its principles and provide opportunities for a healthy, productive and meaningful life for all community residents, both now and in the future.”

“With the continued growth in solar at risk in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic, we must make smart policy choices in this space," said Gayer. "That means taking steps to build the future we need, by investing in infrastructure that advances a future powered entirely by renewable energy sources."