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Fresno At The Top Of The Pack For Solar Energy


It’s no secret that solar energy is a trend, but did you know that the Fresno metropolitan area is ranked first in the top 10 metro areas for solar power in the US?

The organization One Block Off the Grid – the Priceline of solar installations – was on a mission to find out which parts of the US use the most solar energy. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory held their answer through their database the Open PV Project.

But how exactly did Fresno come out as number one?

Here’s what the NREL did: They divided the number of installs in each region since 1999 by population and then ranked them. Fresno came out first with 182.92 megawatts per person followed by the Phoenix, Las Vegas and Sacramento metro areas.

Top 10 Solar Metro Areas by Installed Solar Capacity (per capita) 1: Fresno, California 182.92 2: Phoenix-Mesa, Arizona 84.76 3: Las Vegas, Nevada 77.62 4: Sacramento-Yolo, California 76.27 5: San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose 62.99 6: San Diego 51.34 7: Philadelphia, Wilmington, Atlantic City, 51.11 8: New York City, Long Island, Northern New Jersey 35.96 9: Los Angeles-Riverside-Orange County 35.49 10: San Antonio, Texas 35.4.

To clarify why Fresno leads the pack when it comes to solar 1BOG turned to Ken Johnson with the Solar Energy Industries Association.  

Johnson told 1BOG that lots of large scale solar projects have been installed in the Fresno metro area and that “when this is combined with Fresno’s relatively small population (just over a million), strong solar resources, proximity to thriving and mature solar economies, and strong state policy, it stands to reason that Fresno would be near the top of this list.”

For more information on the NREL and their Market Mapper visit: http://openpv.nrel.gov/visualization/index.php.

Ezra David Romero is an award-winning radio reporter and producer. His stories have run on Morning Edition, Morning Edition Saturday, Morning Edition Sunday, All Things Considered, Here & Now, The Salt, Latino USA, KQED, KALW, Harvest Public Radio, etc.