Update on New York’s 10-year Solar Program

NY Solar Energy BillHurricane Sandy brought untold devastation to New York, and many residents went for weeks without power in the midst of a frigid winter.  But because New York’s grossly outdated energy infrastructure came to light in the storm’s aftermath, solar is gaining renewed interest among lawmakers.  The New York state legislators have just passed a solar bill designed to significantly increase the number of solar installations in the state through 2023.

Earlier this year Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed the 10-year solar program which he hopes will build on the NY-Sun Initiative’s success.  Thanks to a resounding 76 to 16 vote at the state assembly, the program will be enacted via New York Solar Bill (A.5060b/S.2522), extending the solar initiative.

According to Executive Director of Environmental Advocates of New York Dave Gahl, the New York Sun Initiative has been underemployed.  Now that the bill is passed, legislators can put the work back into motion.

A spokesperson for Vote Solar said that the installation segment of the solar industry primarily provides opportunities for jobs and investment, and this bill will give a real boost to the job market.

In addition to this bill, earlier this month a decision to increase the state’s net metering cap from 1% to 3% of 2005 system peak load for all five of the state’s utilities was approved by the New York Public Service Commission.  This action could increase distributed generation (DG) in New York by 462 megawatts.

As compared to the amount of solar installed four years prior, the initial goal of the New York Sun Initiative was to quadruple the

Solar Power During Storms

Due to the devastation from Superstorm Sandy, solar energy has regained interest among lawmakers.

amount of solar installed in New York by 2015.  As a direct result of the program, New York had a 91% increase in solar power investments in the first year, which amounted to $257 million.  Up to the present time, enough solar energy has been installed in New York to power 27,000 houses and employ 3,300 New Yorkers in the growing solar industry.  The New York Solar Bill provides long-term certainty to invest in and scale up the industry, making the state a hub in the region for clean energy jobs and the continued development of solar power technologies.

By extending the NY-Sun Initiative for ten years the following is expected to be accomplished:

  • Provide clean, reliable solar power to 400,000 homes in New York.
  • Thousands of new local jobs will be created in solar manufacturing, solar installation, and maintenance.
  • New Yorkers will save billions of dollars on their energy bills because the most expensive, not to mention dirtiest, power plants will have less demand placed upon them.
  • The state’s burgeoning clean energy economy will encourage investment dollars in the millions.

The growth of the solar industry is great news for New York, especially in light of the major vulnerabilities with the state’s current power grid.  Superstorm Sandy removed all doubt that investment must be made in an electricity delivery system that is clean, reliable, and more resilient.  The predictions for the current hurricane season suggest that storms in the New York region will be ever more intense and frequent.  There has never been a better time for New Yorkers to take advantage of solar incentives, such as a federal solar tax credit and all of the benefits offered by the New York Solar Bill.

Live in NY? Contact one of our solar energy stores for more information on taking advantage of the updated solar energy bill. Our solar professionals at Kindle Wood Solar Store and Lake Champlain Solar Store are ready to answer your questions.

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