Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the growth of solar in New York State has increased more than 300 percent from 2011 to 2014, which is twice the rate of U.S. solar growth overall. The significant increase affirms the value of Governor Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy which includes the $1 billion NY-Sun Initiative to build a clean, resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers.
“The Empire State is rapidly becoming a leader in clean energy technology, and that means greener and more sustainable communities for all New Yorkers,” Governor Cuomo said. “Through the $1 billion NY-Sun Initiative, we’re making solar a reality in virtually every corner of the state and building a brighter future today. I am proud to see New York pulling well ahead of the national average for the growing solar industry, and look forward to seeing that momentum continue in the years to come.”
As part of Reforming the Energy Vision, the $1 billion NY-Sun initiative is significantly expanding the use of solar throughout New York as it becomes a sustainable, subsidy-free industry already supporting thousands of jobs.
A total of 314.48 megawatts of solar electric was installed as of December 2014 across the state, equivalent to powering more than 51,000 homes. The substantial growth is attributed to a combination of factors, including the NY-Sun initiative, decline in solar electric component prices, and growth in the number of installer businesses marketing solar electric directly to consumers.
Solar capacity tripled, quadrupled or quintupled in every region of the state other than Long Island, which has more installations than any other region. In addition, numbers of projects at least doubled in every region. The largest increase in percentage of megawatts was in the North Country, followed by the Finger Lakes, Central New York and New York City.
The following shows the percentage increase of megawatts (MW) of solar capacity and projects installed in each region across the state from 2011 to 2014:
Region MW Installed Increase Projects Installed Increase
• Capital Region 500% 240%
• Central New York 519% 299%
• Finger Lakes 533% 193%
• Long Island 154% 122%
• Mid-Hudson 421% 296%
• Mohawk Valley 475% 365%
• New York City 516% 548%
• North Country 573% 153%
• Southern Tier 486% 144%
• Western New York 216% 171%
In addition, as of May 2015, more than 304 MW of solar photovoltaic was under contract, not yet installed, with an additional 65.6 MW of applications accepted, not yet contracted.
Maps showing megawatts of solar capacity for counties in each region and a chart showing pre-NY-Sun versus post-NY-Sun figures can be found here nyserda.ny.gov/solarcapacity.
According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, solar energy is the fastest growing energy technology in the United States today:
· Solar capacity grew in the United States by 146 percent from 2011 to 2014.
· Installed solar photovoltaic system prices in the United States have dropped steadily by 8 percent from 2013 to 2014 and 49 percent from 2010.
· There are currently more than 538 solar companies at work throughout the value chain in New York, employing more than 7,000 people.
· New York State ranked 7th in the country for installed photovoltaic capacity in 2014, up from 9th a year earlier, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.
In 2014, the Governor made a historic commitment of nearly $1 billion to NY-Sun in order to significantly expand deployment of solar capacity throughout the state and transform New York¹s solar industry to a sustainable, incentive-free sector. NY-Sun involves deploying public funds in a strategic manner to drive industry to scale and reduce burdens on ratepayers. It provides support for solar projects and uses a proven Megawatt Block system approach that is responsive to market conditions, allowing the solar market in each region of the state to grow at its own pace. It also includes support for work to decrease balance-of-system costs (everything except the cost of solar modules and inverters) through streamlined permitting, reduced acquisition costs and training of code officials and first responders.
Additional efforts under NY-Sun, such a Community Solar NY and K-Solar, are also helping homeowners, small businesses and schools throughout the State gain greater access to clean energy through economies of scale from soliciting bids for multiple projects at one time.
Under Governor Cuomo’s initiative for Reforming the Energy Vision, New York State will spur clean energy innovation, bring in new investments, improve consumer choice while protecting the environment and energize New York’s economy. This pioneering approach provides New Yorkers new opportunities for energy savings, local power generation, and enhanced reliability. To achieve the State’s economic development and environmental objectives, Reforming the Energy Vision encompasses statewide initiatives such as the Clean Energy Fund and $1 billion NY Green Bank to overcome market barriers and attract private capital. By empowering communities and creating jobs through programs such as Community Solar NY and K-Solar for schools, the $40 million NY-Prize competition for community microgrids and the $1 billion NY-Sun initiative, New York is leveraging statewide resources to integrate local energy resources and meet the needs of New York communities.
For more information on Reforming the Energy Vision, please visit http://www.ny.gov/REV4NY.