The divide between the federal government’s ambivalence toward solar power and states’ desire to push forward with its deployment came into stark relief yesterday as 70 U.S. mayors, representing 26 states, declared that they would “resolve to make solar energy a key element of our communities’ energy plans.”
Notably absent from the list of signatories were any Hawaiian mayors despite the island chains clear commitment to solar energy. If anything, Hawaiian mayors are pushing even further ahead, and yesterday announced plans to switch to renewables in transportation as well as electricity.
The mayors listed the reasons for supporting solar, including reducing pollution, creating jobs and keeping energy dollars in the community rather than exporting them to utilities, many of whom are located outside their states.
Lowering energy costs for residents and businesses, as well as making their communities more energy independent, also made the list.
“As local leaders, we know that our communities are particularly well-suited to adopt solar power,” the mayors wrote in their statement. “Cities and towns are natural centers of electricity demand, have the rooftops and infrastructure needed for installing solar panels and can craft policies to help residents and utilities make the switch to solar power.”
Recognizing the efforts under way at the state and federal levels to limit solar’s growth at the behest of entrenched fossil fuel special interests, the mayors said they needed to act quickly to maintain the momentum solar has currently going in the country.
According to The Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census, the industry currently employs more than 260,000 people. The foundation also found that solar energy contributed $154 billion to the nation’s economy in 2016.
The list of mayors includes the following:
Arizona: Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, Tucson
California: Mayor Jesse Arreguin, Berkeley; Mayor Glenn Sylvester, Daly City; Mayor Lily Mei, Fremont; Mayor Skylar Peak, Malibu; Mayor Clyde Robinson, Monterey; Mayor John F. Johnston, Ojai; Mayor Heidi Harmon, San Luis Obispo; Mayor Ted Winterer, Santa Monica; Mayor Glenn Hendricks, Sunnyvale
Colorado Mayor Eric Mamula, Breckenridge; Mayor Kris Teegardin, Edgewater; Mayor Marjorie Sloan, Golden; Mayor Christine Berg, Lafayette; Mayor Bob Muckle, Louisville; Mayor Nicole Nicoletta, Manitou Springs; Mayor Kristopher Larsen, Nederland; Mayor Sean Murphy, Telluride
Florida Mayor Becky Tooley, Coconut Creek; Mayor Raul Valdes-Fauli, Coral Gables; Mayor Peggy Bell, Cutler Bay; Mayor Tamara James, Dania Beach; Mayor Lauren Poe, Gainesville; Mayor Craig Cates, Key West; Mayor Bill Barnett, Naples; Mayor Buddy Dyer, Orlando; Mayor Joseph M. Corradino, Pinecrest; Mayor Sandra Bradbury, Pinellas Park; Mayor Lamar Fisher, Pompano Beach; Mayor Joseph Ayoub, Safety Harbor; Mayor Philip K. Stoddard, South Miami; Mayor Michael Ryan, Sunrise;
Mayor Daniel Dietch, Surfside; Mayor Jeri Muoio, West Palm Beach; Mayor Gary Resnick, Wilton Manors
Georgia Mayor Hardie Davis, Jr., Augusta
Idaho Mayor Nina Jones, Ketchum
Indiana Mayor Phil Jenkins, Nappanee
Iowa Mayor Roy Buol, Dubuque
Louisiana Mayor Greg Lemons, Abita Springs
Maine Mayor Ethan Strimling, Portland
Maryland Mayor Patrick Wojahn, College Park
Michigan Mayor Mark Meadows, East Lansing; Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, Grand Rapids; Mayor Jim Carruthers, Traverse City; Mayor Amanda Maria Edmonds, Ypsilanti
Minnesota Mayor Peter Lindstrom, Falcon Heights
Missouri Mayor Sly James, Kansas City
New Hampshire Selectboard Chairman Peter Christie, Hanover
New Jersey Mayor Bert H. Steinmann, Ewing
Ohio Mayor William R. Flaute, Riverside
Oregon Mayor Mark Gamba, Milwaukie; Mayor Biff Traber, Corvallis
Pennsylvania Mayor Salvatore Panto Jr., Easton Township; Manager Samantha Reiner, Edgmont Township; Mayor Sean Strub, Milford; Mayor Jim Kenney, Philadelphia; Mayor William Peduto, Pittsburgh
Rhode Island Mayor Jorge Elorza, Providence
South Carolina Mayor Steve Benjamin, Columbia
Texas Mayor Steve Adler, Austin; Former Mayor Todd Ruge, Buda; Mayor Scott Saunders, Jr., Smithville; Mayor John Williams, Universal City
Utah Mayor Jacqueline Biskupski, Salt Lake City
Vermont Mayor Miro Weinberger, Burlington
Washington Mayor Jennifer Gregerson, Mukilteo; Mayor Cheryl Selby, Olympia; Mayor Chris Roberts, Shoreline
Wisconsin: Mayor Zachary Vruwink, Wisconsin Rapids