Portland a ‘shining city’ in solar power capacity

San Diego, LA, Honolulu ranked 1st, 2nd and 3rd

Solar panels on a hillside (Public Domain Photos, Petr Kratochvil(

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland is among the top 20 U.S. cities in installed solar capacity, a report from the Environment America Research and Policy Center reveals.

The “Shining Cities” report listed Portland as the 17th top solar-powered city in America, beating out places like Jacksonville, Florida and Washington D.C.

Shining Cities 2017: How smart local policies are expanding solar power in America

According to the report, the U.S. now has enough solar energy capacity to power 8.3 million homes. In turn, that would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 52.3 million metric tons each year.

The 20 cities on the list cover just one-tenth of 1% of the U.S. land area, but make up 5% of U.S. solar capacity.

Environment Oregon says solar jobs in the state doubled in just one year. The “Shining Cities” report indicates that’s a result of policies that make it easier and more appealing for cities to use solar power. Top solar cities made it easier and cheaper for residents to switch to solar power through various programs and policies.

Portland is 17th on a list of the top 20 US cities for solar PV capacity, April 4, 2017 (Graphic: Environment America Research and Policy Center)
Portland is 17th on a list of the top 20 US cities for solar PV capacity, April 4, 2017 (Graphic: Environment America Research and Policy Center)

But it’s not all good news. Even with an increase in renewable solar energy, Oregon legislators are weighing the option of cutting statewide solar incentives.

The Residential Energy Tax Credit helps lower the cost of solar, and without it, solar growth may come to a halt, according to Terry Tomei of Elemental Energy.

“There is no permanent subsidy for renewable energy here for solar,” Tomei said. “Other energy sources do have subsidies that are permanent and that doesn’t make a level playing field… solar needs these incentives to bring down the cost per unit.”

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler released this statement in response to the ranking:

“We’re proud to be on the list of U.S. cities that are open for solar business. One hundred percent of the electricity we use for City operations is powered from renewable sources, including solar – and we continue to install solar on our own facilities to the greatest extent possible. It’s important to Portland’s future that the State of Oregon continue its forward-thinking policies and market-moving incentives.” – Mayor Ted Wheeler