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BALTIMORE–Baltimore lagged behind other major U.S. cities in solar power installations over the last two years according to the eighth edition of Environment Maryland Research & Policy Center’s report Shining Cities: The Top U.S. Cities for Solar Energy. The city ranked 43rd nationwide for installed solar energy capacity per capita.
“Despite Baltimore’s lack of solar growth compared to its peers, there is still a massive opportunity for us to harness the power of the sun,” said Rishi Shah, Advocate with Maryland PIRG. “For the sake of a cleaner, healthier and more energy independent future, Maryland must build on the progress we’ve made on solar energy and pick up the pace.”
Beyond the findings in Maryland, this edition of the survey tracked data through December 2021, finding that the United States now has 121.4 gigawatts of solar photovoltaic capacity installed. That’s enough solar energy to power more than 23 million homes. Additionally, the report found that 15 major U.S. cities recorded a tenfold increase in their solar capacity between 2014 and 2022.
Nationally, Honolulu placed first 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; Washington, D.C., in the South Atlantic region; and Burlington, Vermont, in the Northeast region.
Regionally, Baltimore placed 10th in the South Atlantic in per capita solar energy capacity and 6th in the South Atlantic for total solar energy capacity installed.
These numbers tell the story of progress driven by pro-solar policies, many of which are outlined in the report. For example, during the 2022 Maryland legislative session, the General Assembly passed legislation to reduce the tax burden on rooftop and parking canopy solar projects.
“Progress like the six solar rooftops at the Sandtown-Winchester Condominium Association in West Baltimore demonstrate Baltimore’s potential to grow solar within city lines,” said Johanna Neumann, 100% Renewable Energy Senior Campaign Director with Environment America. “As we celebrate the 52nd Earth Day, local and state leaders should set their sights on helping solar power thrive in Baltimore and throughout Maryland.”
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