San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer used a rooftop covered with solar panels overlooking Mission Bay to announce Thursday that the city ranks second nationally in installed solar power, behind only the much bigger city of Los Angeles.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer, center, announcing San Diego's ranking in installed solar power. Photo by Chris Jennewein
Michelle Kinman speaks about San Diego’s solar ranking while Kevin Faulconer, center, Daniel Sullivan and Len Hering look on. Photo by Chris Jennewein

The ranking is based on installed megawatts of power-generating capacity within the city limits, so San Diego is actually first on a per-person basis.

“Today’s ranking is a reflection of how forward-looking and environmentally concerned San Diegans have become,” Faulconer said.

The report by the Los Angeles-based Environment California Research & Policy Center ranked 20 cities across the United States.

The top five were all in the West:

  • Los Angeles — 132 megawatts
  • San Diego — 107 megawatts
  • Phoenix — 96 megawatts
  • San Jose — 94 megawatts
  • Honolulu — 91 megawatts

The ceremony at the Mission Bay Aquatic Center was attended by a group of solar-energy advocates, including Michelle Kinman of Environment California; Len Hering, a retired Navy admiral who is executive director of the California Center for Sustainable Energy; and Daniel Sullivan, founder and president of Sullivan Solar.

Kinman noted that the 20 cities ranked in her organization’s report have more installed solar power than was installed in the entire country 20 years ago.

Hering said the Center for Sustainable Energy has used incentives to encourage construction of 188 megawatts of solar capacity in the larger San Diego region.”If you want to do something good for the environment, and control your own energy use, think solar,” he said.

Sullivan said the growth of solar power is reflected in his firm, which was founded just 10 years ago and now employs 106 and will generate $34 million in sales this year.

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.