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Athens Makes List of 'Shining Cities' Solar Energy Report

Photo courtesy Joshua L. Jones/Athens Banner-Herald

Athens and Atlanta are among the cities highlighted in a new report on the progress of solar power in the nation.

That’s according to the 'Shining Cities: The Top U.S. Cities for Solar' report.

Jennette Gayer is director of Environment Georgia Research & Policy Center, which released the data.

“The city of Atlanta, city of Athens have made pretty impressive progress in just a few years,” according to Gayer. “Both Athens and Atlanta struggle with really high energy burdens and solar can help really address some of those problems.”

She says the nation has access to a virtually unlimited supply of energy.

“Enough sunlight hits the United States each year to power our electricity needs a hundred times over.”

In the last five years, Atlanta has doubled its solar capacity, and Athens ranked 38th per capita, right behind New York City.

During a webinar, which was livestreamed, ACC Mayor Kelly Girtz discussed the variety of ways Athens is working to go green.

"Enough sunlight hits the United States each year to power our electricity needs a hundred times over." Jennette Gayer, Environment Georgia Research & Policy Center

“It’s certainly a unique component of what we do, but it stands alongside the work we do around repairing buffer support, around green space preservation, around expansion of our bike networks and around public transit and so many other things,” said Girtz. “I always find that is the case when you layer multiple benefits together, you make for a stronger program, a stronger community.”

This year’s report is the seventh edition of Shining Cities. In addition to Girtz, representatives from Environment Georgia, the City of Atlanta and Emory University took part in the webinar.

Shinning Cities ranked 70 cities across the nation.

Honolulu, Hawaii was number one for solar capacity while Los Angeles was number in total solar energy installed.