San Diego has the second most solar energy installations in the country, according to an environmental advocacy nonprofit.
In its “Shining Cities” report, Environment California Research & Policy Center revealed Thursday that San Diego was second only to Los Angeles in its list of major cities with the most solar power systems, and America’s finest city is fourth in per capita solar installations.
Acknowledging the honor, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said he’s setting his sights on making his city number one.
“Solar energy can help us meet many of our city’s environmental and economic goals because it’s a pollution-free energy source, of course, with no fuel costs,” Faulconer said at a press conference held Thursday to announce the city’s ranking.
He said solar can also provide relief from rising utility costs.
And the mayor was not alone in wanting to outperform Los Angeles in renewable energy growth.
Daniel Sullivan, president of Sullivan Solar Power, said LA is helped by its larger population, but San Diego has three times the number of solar installations per capita compared to the City of Angels.
“Enjoy it while you can, Los Angeles, because the leadership of Mayor Faulconer and the city council and our climate action plan is going to result in us regaining the title of the number one solar city in the United States,” said Sullivan.
Sullivan added that his company has grown from 60 employees to more than 100 in the past four years due to increased interest.
Moving forward, the City of San Diego will capitalize on the region’s many sunny days by installing solar panels at its public utilities facilities, and officials are undergoing an assessment to determine other city buildings that could go sun-powered, according to Faulconer.
This week, the city council voted to include San Diego in the California Hero program, which gives homeowners financing options to make it easier to install renewable energy sources.
The Environment California report ranks the top ten solar-friendly cities as follows: Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, San Jose, Honolulu, San Antonio, Indianapolis, New York, San Francisco and Denver.
As far as “solar stars” – a.k.a. cities with more than 50 watts of installed solar per person – San Diego falls behind Honolulu, San Jose and Wilmington.