Moab Mayor Emily Niehaus was one of two mayors from Utah to sign a letter in support of solar energy.

A press release from the nonprofit Environment America Research and Policy Center said Niehaus joined more than 200 mayors representing cities in every U.S. state who have signed the center’s “Mayors for Solar Energy” letter. The letter is meant to show how leaders are embracing a collective vision for solar-powered communities, the statement said.

“While our federal government is promoting 19th-century energy policies, Americans can look to local governments to lead the United States’ transition to clean energy,” said Emma Searson, Environment America’s Go Solar campaign advocate. “Mayors across the country are rising to the challenge —thinking bigger, acting smarter and tapping the sun for more power.”

The list of 216 mayors who signed the letter spans the political spectrum, the press release said. Republican mayor James Brainard of Carmel, Indiana, said he is proud to support solar in his community and said it’s a “no-brainer” for every city to consider.

“Even as Carmel continues its substantial growth, our city is working aggressively to reduce our carbon footprint well below what it was several years ago, when we were a smaller community,” Brainard said. “Solar plays a major role in that effort, including more than 6,100 panels on four major facilities: our water treatment plant, a sanitary sewer pump station and two public parking garages in our city center. They’ll cost about $3.2 million, but yield well over twice that in energy savings over the life of the panels. All this in a part of the country that hardly gets sunshine every day of the year.”

The Mayors for Solar Energy letter boasts dozens of signers from northern communities such as Carmel that experience short, cold winter days. Minneapolis, for example, wants to use more solar both for public city operations and for the private community, en route to a goal of generating 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources.

Some towns, such as Red Lodge, Montana, are pursuing national programs that can help encourage solar development.

The number of signatures on the Mayors for Solar Energy letter has more than tripled since December 2017, the Environment America Research and Policy Center said.

The Mayors for Solar Energy project goes beyond the letter itself, the press release said, to help with resources and trainings in cities that want to adopt more renewable energy.

Niehaus one of more than 200 mayors to support initiative