Kansas City has announced that it's going to put leased solar panels on about 80 municipal buildings, including police and fire department buildings and most of the city’s community centers. The solar panels will be leased from Brightergy, in what seems like a similar deal to what SolarCity does. The city is expecting to save $40,000 over the first year, with savings increasing over time. Good deal for taxpayers, especially since there's no upfront capital cost (that's the big benefit of leasing).
All cities in relatively sunny places should do things like these, especially if leasing deals are available (this removes most of the risk of building and operating the systems -- all that's left is the electricity savings and cleaner power).
The solar units on the 80 buildings could together supply all the power needed by 200 homes. Some city governments, such as San Francisco’s, use more of the renewable energy but it comes from solar energy farms instead of units on individual buildings.
In the Midwest and other regions that have been slow to adopt solar energy, Kansas City’s move is ambitious by any measure. The city government of Columbia, a leader in the region in its use of solar energy, has about one-sixth of the capacity Kansas City plans to install. (source)
The Midwest has cheaper electricity than California and less sun, so solar there used to not make as much sense. But because solar panels have dropped in price so much, the math in favor of solar is improving rapidly.
Via Kansas City Star