- A bipartisan group of 180 mayors from across the U.S. have called for increased solar energy usage in an updated letter released Tuesday by Environment America. The first version of the letter, signed by 70 mayors, was released in December.
- "As local leaders, we know that our communities are particularly well-suited to adopt solar power," the letter reads. "With a concerted effort underway on the state and federal levels to limit the growth of solar by fossil fuel special interests, communities like ours across the country need to act quickly to continue our progress toward renewable energy."
- Emma Searson, who has helped organize Environment America's Go Solar Campaign, said support of the additional 110 mayors was gained through campaign outreach, and also through organic interest of mayors who have heard about the effort through colleagues.
A focus on renewable energy has become top-priority across the U.S., as dozens of cities have committed to getting 100% of their power from renewables. And while committing to increased solar usage is a significant step forward for these 180 cities, tangible actions will need to be taken for such cities to reach their goals.
Searson explained Environment America will prioritize working with mayors who are interested in "actually backing up their signature on this letter with some real action on solar energy, so we want to be helpful in that area moving forward."
Part of Environment America's assistance will be demonstrated through a webinar, being held today with the National League of Cities. The webinar will provide a brief overview of technical assistance program SolSmart and will allow participants to hear success stories about establishing solar goals and boosting local solar initiatives. The advocacy organization has also released a list, "Ten Ways Your City Can Go Solar," which offers tips to city governments including "guarantee solar rights," "partner with utilities" and "eliminate red tape."
While considering investments in solar, cities can also significantly boost cost savings and city resilience through other smart surface installations including green roofs, permeable pavements and reflective pavements.