LAS VEGAS- Las Vegas ranked no. 2 in the U.S. for installed solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity per capita in the latest edition of the Environment Nevada Research & Policy Center’s report Shining Cities: The Top U.S. Cities for Solar Energy. The report, which is the eighth edition of America’s most comprehensive survey of installed solar PV capacity in major U.S. cities, designates Las Vegas a ‘Solar Superstar,’ meaning it boasts 100 or more watts of solar PV capacity installed per capita.
According to the research, Las Vegas is home to 443 megawatts of total solar capacity, which comes out to about 690 watts per person. In addition to ranking second in the nation for its solar capacity per capita, the city comes in third for total installed capacity.
“Vegas isn’t just an entertainment capital – it’s also become one of America’s solar power capitals,” said Johanna Neumann, senior director of Environment Nevada Research & Policy Center’s Campaign for 100% Renewable Energy. “I’m amazed by how far we’ve come toward tapping the immense power of the sun since the Earth Day tradition began in 1970. Las Vegas – a ‘Solar Superstar’ – is such a shining example of that progress. By taking advantage of its abundant desert sunshine, Vegas is helping clean up the air and protect a livable climate for all of us. That’s something to celebrate and build on, on Earth Day and every day.”
The City of Las Vegas has taken several steps to promote renewable energy adoption. Through an agreement with the utility NV Energy, the city receives 100 percent of the energy it needs from renewable sources. Those sources include both large and small solar installations, including panels at the city’s wastewater treatment plant.
“The city of Las Vegas has long been a leader when it comes to sustainability, and we make it a priority to meet the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations,” said Mayor Carolyn G. Goodman. “Solar, recycling, renewable energy and water conservation are all key components to the city’s success.”
Beyond the findings in Nevada, 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.
These numbers tell the story of progress driven by pro-solar policies, many of which are outlined in the report. Some of those include: 100% renewable commitments, automated solar permitting systems that make it faster and easier to go solar and programs that fairly compensate solar producers for the clean electricity they share with their neighbors.
“Cities like Las Vegas that have really committed to solar power have seen it take off as a result of their actions,” said Neumann. “For the sake of a cleaner, healthier and more energy independent future, we need more cities across the country to be like Vegas in this regard so that we can keep growing American solar and pick up the pace of progress even more.”