Report: Boston Beats New York and Philadelphia in Solar Power

With the exception of California, more people work in Massachusetts' solar industry than any other state's.

Image via City of Boston

Image via City of Boston

Bostonians might not have seen the sun all winter, but the city’s solar panels certainly have.

Boston ranks fourth in the Northeast for solar power generated per capita, ahead of New York City and Philadelphia, according to a report released Tuesday by the Environment Massachusetts Research and Policy Center. Scenic Newark, N.J. tops the list, with Burlington, Vt. and Providence placing second and third, respectively. Boston ranks 20th in the nation in rooftop and utility-scale solar installations, as well.

Massachusetts’ solar industry is booming. With more than 12,000 jobs, more people work in the solar industry in Massachusetts than any other state, with the exception of sunny California. It must be so easy for them, soaking up the rays while never having to shovel out their Toyota Corolla from a 15-foot snow bank.

”With some of the best incentives in the country, solar makes sense in Boston,” Austin Blackmon, Chief of Environment, Energy, and Open Space for the City of Boston said in Environment Massachusetts’ release. “Mayor [Marty] Walsh encourages Bostonians to consider solar to save money on their energy bills and help Boston reach its Greenovate Boston Climate Action Plan goals.”

Last year, Mayor Walsh teamed up with a company spun from the MIT Media Lab to bring solar panels to the city’s park benches. These “Soofas” allow park-goers to enjoy the view and charge their electronic devices in the meantime.

The City of Boston has also partnered with local MIT spin-off Mapdwell to determine the solar potential for the Hub’s 127,000 buildings, in order to meet the goal set by former Mayor Tom Menino of 25 megawatts of system capacity by this year. Mapdwell allows homeowners and businesses to quantify the benefits of installing a solar panel on their roof, and determined that Boston has the potential for 2.2 gigawatts of solar power. That’s nearly two flux capacitors.

For example, Boston‘s offices at the former Mass. Horticultural Society building located at 300 Massachusetts Avenue, if outfitted with a typical installation, would rake in an estimated $2,520 of revenue over four years by covering 322 of our roof’s 22,116 square-feet in solar panels. This would generate 4.8 kilowatts of solar power, offsetting an estimated 4,045 hours of air conditioning.

Solar Power

You can play around with Mapdwell’s toolbox here.