New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has proposed expanding his successful NY-Sun initiative to provide a long-term stable funding stream to increase solar projects throughout the state in support of the growing clean energy industry. This announcement is in support of a commitment the Governor made in his State of the State address earlier this year and in celebration of Earth Day with initiatives tied to efforts to combat climate change.
“New York State is a leader in efforts to combat climate change, and the NY-Sun program is an important part of those efforts by supporting the expansion of clean energy projects to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Governor Cuomo. “A robust and wide-ranging strategy to protect against climate change will grow our economy, protect our communities and environment, and advance the goals of Earth Day.”
Just one year ago, Governor Cuomo launched the NY-Sun program to quadruple the amount of customer-sited solar power installed annually in New York by 2013.
Program certainty is critical to developers in attracting significant private sector investment in solar photovoltaic systems. Therefore, expanding the NY-Sun program will support the growth of the solar industry across the state by providing stable and dependable funding of $150 million per year for the next ten years. By funding NY-Sun for the next decade, the state is enabling the sustainable development of a robust solar power industry in New York, creating well-paying skilled jobs, improving the reliability of the electric grid and reducing air pollution.
The NY Sun Act will require the New York State Energy Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the Public Service Commission (PSC) to design the most cost-effective programs and to respond to changing market conditions, but also will require that programs take into consideration a number of key features to maximize benefits to New York, including: attracting a diversity of project sizes; taking into account economic benefits to New York State (i.e. encouraging solar installers to support in-State suppliers); and focusing on areas of the electric grid that could benefit the most from distributed solar generation (e.g., areas where improvements to local transmission and distribution systems could be avoided or delayed by solar installations).
Since the Governor launched NY Sun in 2012, a total of 242 MW of solar PV has been installed or is under development, more than was installed in the entire prior decade. Approximately 120,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions will be avoided with the installation of the NY-Sun projects, which is the equivalent of removing 23,000 cars from the road. The NY Sun Act will ensure these gains continue for the next decade.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently issued a report that ranked New York 5th in the nation for the amount of installed renewable energy capacity providing electricity to the state. New York was the only state east of the Mississippi named in the top five, and the only Northeast state placing in the top 10.
According to the Solar Foundation, New York State currently has approximately 3,300 solar jobs, placing it seventh in the nation. This same foundation concluded that, nationally, the solar industry has expanded by over 13 percent in just the last year alone.