How the Policy Works
The New York Solar Bill (A.5060b/S.2522) will solidify the state's commitment to solar energy by establishing, in statute, a stable and predictable incentive program through 2023. Specifically, the bill would extend the Governor Cuomo's successful NY-SUN Initiative for 10 years. This policy would provide a long-term strategy for continued solar market expansion and job creation balanced with the equally important goal of minimizing costs to New York rate payers.
New York solar power today:
- There are currently more than 347 solar companies at work throughout the value chain in New York.
- New York ranks 12th nationally in cumulative installed solar capacity. There is enough solar energy installed in the state to power 27,000 homes.
- In 2012, $257 million was invested in New York to install solar on homes and businesses. This represents a 91% increase over the previous year, and is expected to grow again this year.
- Average installed residential and commercial photovoltaic system prices in New York continue to fall--by 13% from last year. National prices have also dropped steadily--by 14% from last year and 31% since 2010.
The New York Solar Bill would ensure that solar power keeps bringing these many benefits to New Yorkers.
Full text of the New York Solar Bill
With New York investing in more local solar power, we would immediately begin creating significant local jobs.
- Solar energy creates more jobs per megawatt installed than any other energy resource—7 times that of coal or natural gas. 2,200 megawatts of solar power would mean thousands of new jobs.
- These would be high quality jobs related to project development and installation, making them inherently local and unlikely to be outsourced.
- These jobs cover a broad range of education requirements, salary ranges and fields.
- If successful in building a long-term solar market, the state stands to gain additional jobs associated with the manufacturing of solar system components, from silicon to glass, from racking systems to wiring.
- 120,000 Americans work in solar today. National solar employment grew more than 13% year-over-year – a bright spot of growth in an overall economy that only added 2.3% employment. Stronger state-level solar policy would bring more of that job opportunity to New York.
Benefits for Consumers
New York’s energy consumers would see benefits from stronger solar policy:
- Solar power investment would reduce the need for New York’s conventional power plants to generate power during peak demand hours, some of the priciest and most polluting electricity in New York’s energy mix.
- Solar power development would help relieve New York’s chronic grid strain and resulting blackouts and price spikes by producing power when and where it is needed most throughout the state.
- Consumers would have more alternatives to generate their own power and directly reduce their utility bills.
- New Yorkers would have access to safe and sustainable power.
Keeping Pace with Neighboring States and Modernizing our Infrastructure
New York has lagged far behind neighboring states like New Jersey in solar development - after once being a leader in the field:
- In 2012, New York ranked 10th in the country for new solar PV installations with 60 megawatts. That puts New York well behind New Jersey (3rd with 450 megawatts) and even the smaller energy state of Massachusetts (6th with 129 megawatts).
- Overall, New Jersey has a goal of 5,000 megawatts of new solar capacity by 2026.
Benefits for New York’s Environment & Public Health
By reducing New York’s reliance on fossil fuel based energy generation, a stronger solar policy commitment would help protect our environment and the people who live in it. 2,200 MW of local solar development would:
- Reduce stress on New York's grid during summer "peak hours," lessening the need to run older, dirtier plants that emit hazardous smog-forming pollutants, harming our lungs and putting the most vulnerable- our children, elderly and asthma patients- at risk.
- Reduce harmful emissions of mercury and smog-causing pollution. Over 65 percent of New Yorkers currently live in counties where air pollution endangers lives.
- Reduce climate change causing emissions.