Solar improves air quality, secures the grid, and reduces energy burdens, so how can cities take advantage?
Last month we saw two rousing rounds of testimony at the Transportation and Environment and Business and Economic Development Committees of the DC Council on the Clean Energy DC Omnibus Amendment Act of 2018. The bill proposes a 100% Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) by 2032 with a 10% solar carve-out by 2041. The legislation is a huge step forward to address the effects of climate change and increase local solar generation. But DC isn’t the only city stepping up to the plate.
In October, Denver passed a revision to the Municipal Code requiring new building projects to include a combination of green roofing, on-site solar, and renewable energy purchasing. More recently, the Philadelphia City Council passed legislation supporting bulk purchasing of solar power and putting funds towards the construction of a 70 MW solar farm. Some cities, like Fresno and Los Angeles, have quietly paved the way for statewide policies like California’s new 100% RPS bill. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, however, a majority of American cities could be producing 50 times more solar energy than their current PV capacity. These cities should embrace solar for its public health, security, and economic benefits to urban areas.