[Philadelphia, PA] - Mayors from every U.S. state including Pennsylvania are embracing a vision for more solar energy in their communities, as stated in a national letter released today by PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center. The group of over 200 “Mayors for Solar Energy” represents cities and towns in states from Florida to Alaska, California to Maine, including 43 in Pennsylvania. More Pennsylvania mayors signed on than any other state in the country.
“While our federal government is promoting 19th-century energy policies, we have to rely on local officials to lead the United States’ transition to modern clean energy usage,” says Kelly Flanigan, Global Warming Solutions Associate for PennEnvironment. “Mayors across Pennsylvania and the country are rising to the challenge -- thinking bigger, acting smarter, and tapping the sun for more power.”
The list of mayors who signed the letter spans the political spectrum as well as a broad range of city sizes and budgets.
"Solar power is a key component of advancing Pittsburgh's clean energy transition. We have numerous assets that can provide as the launching point for solar generation in Pittsburgh and southwestern Pennsylvania, from parking lots to rooftops. Increasing the amount of locally generated solar power helps reduce carbon pollution, clean our air and provide a resilient, sustainable and cost-effective electricity," said Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto.
With millions of available rooftops, rising public demand for renewable energy, and much-improved storage technology, America’s cities are resolving local air pollution and power generation issues by switching to solar power.
"Investing in solar in all sectors in Dubuque will help us reach our goals of 50% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030,” said Mayor Roy Buol of Dubuque, IA. “We recently installed solar on our fire station rooftops and partnered with Alliant Energy to install 5 MW of utility-scale solar to lead the community in reaching that target!"
“When it comes to renewable energy, Minneapolis is not messing around. We’ve set a clear path for all municipal operations to be run on 100% renewable energy by 2022, and an even more ambitious goal of achieving 100% renewable energy citywide by 2030, said Mayor Jacob Frey of Minneapolis, MN. “To get there, we are installing solar gardens on municipal buildings and working with community organizations eager to bring solar to the rest of the city. And for punctuation, we created the most aggressive solar incentives in the country for our residents, low-income multi-family buildings, businesses and nonprofits.”
The number of signatories on the Mayors for Solar Energy letter has more than tripled from 70 on the initial letter in December of 2017, and the PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center says that this number will continue to grow. The Mayors for Solar Energy project goes beyond the letter itself; the organization is also producing resources and hosting trainings to help cities adopt more renewable energy.
“Mayors know the needs of their townspeople better than anyone,” said Flanigan. “They know the existing infrastructure and how to adapt it to best allow solar and other forms of clean, renewable energy to displace the fossil fuels that pollute our communities and make our families sick. These are neighbors helping neighbors to a brighter future."
PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center is a 501(c)(3) organization. We are dedicated to protecting our air, water, and open spaces. We investigate problems, craft solutions, educate the public and decision-makers, and help the public make their voices heard in local, state and national debates over the quality of our environment and our lives. For more information, visit www.pennenvironmentcenter.org