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Thursday, April 5, 2018
Honolulu Among U.S. Solar Leading Cities in New Report
By News Release @ 2:09 AM :: 4251 Views :: Energy, Hawaii Statistics
Honolulu Among U.S. Solar Leading Cities in New Report

News Release from Environment America, April 4, 2018

Honolulu - The City of Honolulu ranks third overall for solar energy in a new reportfrom Environment America Research & Policy Center, landing it among the leading cities in the United States for installing clean energy from the sun.

“Cities like Honolulu are leading the way to a future powered by clean, renewable energy,” said Bret Fanshaw, Solar Program Director with Environment America Research & Policy Center and report co-author. “By tapping into more of  our vast solar energy potential, we can benefit from cleaner air and fight climate change.”

Honolulu ranked behind Los Angeles and San Diego for total megawatts of solar. However, the city ranked first overall for megawatts of solar energy per capita as of year-end 2017.

“As Mayor, I made a commitment to transform Honolulu’s public and private ground transportation to 100 percent renewable energy by 2045, and solar will play a huge role in meeting that goal,” said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. “Already, thousands of Oʻahu residents are powering their homes and their electric vehicles with energy generated by rooftop solar, and this technology is rapidly improving and becoming even more widespread. Mahalo to Environment America for shining a spotlight, not only on Honolulu’s progress, but on the enormous benefits of solar energy that assures our country will become more self-sufficient and economically competitive."

The report, Shining Cities 2018: How Smart Local Policies Are Expanding Solar Power in America, shows that the top 20 solar cities, comprising just 0.1 percent of the country’s land mass, account for 4 percent of U.S. solar capacity.

“We are in a moment when progress on renewable energy will come from cities across the country,” said Fanshaw. “More local leaders should step up and start plugging their communities into the clean and virtually limitless power of the sun.”

Shining Cities is the fifth annual report from Environment America Research & Policy Center. Each year, the survey ranks nearly 70 of the nation’s major cities by megawatts of solar energy.

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Mayor Caldwell pledges continued support of solar energy as report ranks Honolulu #1 in nation

News Release from City and County of Honolulu, April 4, 2018

Honolulu – Mayor Kirk Caldwell has co-signed a public letter with the Mayors for Solar Energy to reiterate his support for clean, renewable energy (letter attached). The bipartisan group of 180 U.S. mayors, representing cities large and small in 42 states, resolve to make solar power a key element of their communities’ energy plans and call on others to embrace clean energy from the sun.

“Solar on thousands of homes and government buildings is helping Honolulu reach our sustainable energy goals,” said Mayor Caldwell. “We are on the front lines of sea level rise and other climate change effects and we must drastically reduce our use of fossil fuels. My administration is working to expedite permits for photovoltaic and battery storage systems and the results are clear.”

The move by mayors to promote solar power comes at a time when the federal administration is rolling back Obama-era policies aimed at reducing climate emissions and encouraging renewable energy.

“Oʻahu moved up to 21 percent renewable in 2017 from 19 percent the year before, and the lion’s share of that growth came from private rooftop solar installation,” said Josh Stanbro, the City and County of Honolulu’s Chief Resilience Officer. “Local governments and cities are leading on climate change policy right now, and our residents are also stepping in to help build a solar future from the ground up.”

The commitment from Mayor Caldwell to accelerate the transition to solar comes on the heels of a new report released by Environment America called “Shining Cities: How Smart Local Policies are Expanding Solar Power in America.” The report found that Honolulu ranks first in the nation for installed solar capacity per capita in the United States. Honolulu also jumped up to the No. 3 slot for total solar installed in a city. For a link to the Environment America report, click here.

“It is really exciting to see Honolulu rise in the rankings of volume of overall solar capacity,” said Aki Marceau of Elemental Excelerator, a nonprofit that has funded 35 clean energy, transportation, water, and agriculture projects with startups in Hawai‘i.  “Local businesses, utilities, and state and city agencies have stepped up to make this possible. We hope to see this kind of engagement with new, clean technologies beyond solar."

In 2016, nearly 2,000 people were employed in solar jobs on Oʻahu, and solar permits issued in February 2018 on Oʻahu were 26 percent higher than the previous year – signaling the potential for expanded growth in the sector through 2018. Mayor Caldwell and the city’s Department of Planning and Permitting have been working with the renewable energy industry to streamline battery storage and photovoltaic (PV) approvals, which helped lead to the expansion.

William Giese, Executive Director of the Hawaiʻi Solar Energy Association, lauded the commitment by Mayor Caldwell and pledged to continue to keep Honolulu at the top of the list. “The Hawaiʻi Solar Energy Association will continue to work with Mayor Caldwell and the City and County of Honolulu to bring more solar to Oʻahu, lower electric bills, increase customer choice, and drive Hawaiʻi towards 100 percent clean energy.”

While residents can save money with solar panels on their roof, the entire community benefits from increased renewable energy production.

“Cities everywhere should take steps to switch to solar energy,” said Emma Searson, Environment America’s Go Solar Campaign Coordinator. “By tapping into the power of the sun, cities can benefit from cleaner air and improved public health, while simultaneously tackling climate change.”

-PAU-

HNN: Honolulu ranked #1 in nation for solar capacity per capita

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