[Philadelphia, PA] -- A bipartisan group of 180 U.S. mayors, representing 42 states including Pennsylvania, are speaking out in support of solar energy. Pennsylvania had more support than any other state in the nation, with 43 signers from municipalities across the Commonwealth.
In a letter released today by the citizen-based non-profit environmental advocacy group PennEnvironment, the mayors resolve to make solar power a key element of their communities' energy plans and call on others to embrace clean energy from the sun.
“Support for solar power continues to gain traction in the eyes of the public,” said Kelly Flanigan, Global Warming Solutions Associate for PennEnvironment. “We applaud Pennsylvania mayors for hearing that call to action and rising to the occasion.”
43 Pennsylvania mayors signed the letter, including Mayor Jim Kenney of Philadelphia, Mayor William Peduto of Pittsburgh, Mayor Theodore Streeter of Gettysburg, and Mayor Matthew Shorraw of Monessen.
“Philadelphia is committed to reducing carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050 and transitioning to a 100 percent clean energy future. Solar energy is a critical tool that not only helps us achieve these goals, but also creates local jobs and helps reduce utility costs for residents,” said Mayor Kenney. “Philadelphia will continue to expand solar development in the city for years to come.”
“I applaud the efforts of PennEnvironment as an advocate for solar energy. It is our future,” said Gettysburg Mayor Theodore Streeter. "Gettysburg residents know that harnessing solar energy will be crucial to the future of our city."
With millions of available rooftops, rising public demand for renewable energy, and much-improved storage technology, America’s cities are resolving local air pollution and power generation issues by switching to solar power.
"Solar power is a key component of advancing Pittsburgh's clean energy transition. We have numerous assets that can provide as the launching point for solar generation in Pittsburgh and southwestern Pennsylvania, from parking lots to rooftops. Increasing the amount of locally generated solar power helps reduce carbon pollution, clean our air and provide a resilient, sustainable and cost-effective electricity," said Mayor William Peduto.
"Finding ways to support and utilize solar energy is imperative to our collective well-being,” said Monessen Mayor Matthew Shorraw. “Not only is it good for us and the world we live in, it can be a catalyst for new economic opportunities; especially in post-industrial rust belt communities, such as Monessen and many others across the Commonwealth."
PennEnvironment also recommends that communities work with technical assistance programs, such as SolSmart, a program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Currently, 187 communities representing 54 million Americans have received SolSmart designations by making their cities more solar-friendly.
“While elected officials in Harrisburg and Washington DC move too slowly to tap into the power of solar energy, local leaders are leading the charge," added Flanigan. “PennEnvironment appreciates that important leadership.”
This letter is a reminder that as clean energy programs come under attack in Washington, DC, local governments have an important role in transitioning the United States toward renewable energy. The good news is that powering cities through solar energy is possible now. Earlier this month, Environment America released a new guide for local officials: Ten Ways Your City Can Go Solar.
PennEnvironment is a statewide, citizen-based, environmental advocacy group working to defend Pennsylvania’s environment. For more information on this or our other issues, visit www.PennEnvironment.org.
PA local elected officials signed onto “Mayors for Solar Energy” letter:
Jeanne Sorg, Mayor, Ambler
Emily Marburger, Mayor, Bellevue
John Fetterman, Mayor, Braddock
Mark Barbee, Mayor, Bridgeport
Timothy Scott, Mayor, Carlisle
Josh Maxwell, Mayor, Downingtown
Ron Strouse, Mayor, Doylestown
Nickole Nesby, Mayor, Duquesne
Salvatore Panto, Jr., Mayor, Easton
Joe Schember, Mayor, Erie
Theodore Streeter, Mayor, Gettysburg
Arlene Wanatosky, Mayor, Homer City
Debbie Mahon, Mayor, Hulmeville
David Wessels, Mayor, Huntingdon
Paul Roberts, Mayor, Kingston
Danene Sorace, Mayor, Lancaster
Garry Herbert, Mayor, Lansdale
David Burton, Mayor, Malvern
Patricia Witt, Mayor, Manchester
Mike Detweiler, Mayor, Mansfield
Sean Strub, Mayor, Milford
Thomas S. Kramer, Mayor, Millbourne
Antoinette L. Johnson, Mayor, Modena
Matthew Shorraw, Mayor, Monessen
Bruce Blunt, Mayor, Morton
Frederick T. Courtright, Mayor, Mount Pocono
Lance E. Colondo, Mayor, Nazareth
Sonya Sanders, Council President, Norristown
Jim Kenney, Mayor, Philadelphia
Peter Urscheler, Mayor, Phoenixville
William Peduto, Mayor, Pittsburgh
Stephanie A. Henrick, Mayor, Pottstown
Kevin Cunningham, Mayor, Rutledge
Matthew Rudzki, Mayor, Sharpsburg
Donald Hahn, Mayor, State College
Tarah Probst, Mayor, Stroudsburg
Tim Kearney, Mayor, Swarthmore
Dianne Herrin, Mayor, West Chester
Dan DePaul, Mayor, West Easton
Tom Blaskiewicz, Mayor, West Pittston
Shawn Mauck, Mayor, West York Borough
Marita Garrett, Mayor, Wilkinsburg
Donald Barrett, Mayor, Wilson Borough