A bipartisan group of 180 U.S. mayors, representing cities large and small in 42 states, is speaking out in support of solar energy.
In a letter released by Environment America, the mayors resolve to make solar power a key element of their communities’ energy plans.
“The transition to a clean energy future is one of the greatest opportunities of the 21st century for cities to improve community health, quality of life, environmental sustainability, and a vibrant and robust economy,” says Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “More than 50 percent of the world’s population now lives in cities, so we have to be the ones leading on important issues such as climate resiliency and sustainability.”
Cities such as Bozeman, Mont., known for natural beauty and high quality of life, are switching to solar energy to maintain their reputations, says Environment America.
“Bozeman recognizes that clean solar energy helps to preserve our outdoor recreation economy, quality of life and community resiliency,” says Mayor Cyndy Andrus. “We are committed to expanding solar energy opportunities at the utility-scale and the local level. We are streamlining our solar permitting processes, offering small grants to businesses for energy efficiency and renewable energy, and working alongside our utility to advance community solar.”
In Encinitas, Calif., solar energy is helping the city achieve ambitious goals to help climate action, according to Environment America.
“Supporting solar initiatives is a big part of reaching our Climate Action Plan goals,” notes Mayor Catherine Blakespear. “We’re aiming to have 100 percent of our community’s electricity supplied by renewable sources by 2030. And over the next couple of years, we plan to install enough solar panels on our municipal buildings to become a net-zero energy city.”
Earlier this month, Environment America released a new guide for local officials, Ten Ways Your City Can Go Solar.
“Cities everywhere should take steps to switch to solar energy,” concludes 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.”