The tri-state region is, for the first time, well positioned to become a national and global player in solar energy – so says a new report from the Regional Plan Association, the nation’s oldest independent regional planning organization focused on improving the quality of life in the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut metropolitan area.
“Solar is a vital component of a larger clean energy portfolio,” said Jessie Feller, director of Regional Plan Association’s energy program. “Together with other sustainable options, including wind and hydro power, increased energy efficiency and the repowering of old, inefficient power plants, solar can play a key role in improving environmental health and fostering economic development in the region.”
We were proud to work with RPA and our colleagues at NRDC to produce the report, which details the solar capacity in the region and reviews the current policy programs on the books in the tri-state region. And let us say, there is a ton of policy activity in this part of the country: New Jersey is already a national leader in adopting solar power, Connecticut recently passed ambitious new solar legislation, and New York is looking at new solar program options. Here at Vote Solar, we’d encourage the Empire State to get serious about those options by passing the New York Solar Jobs Act and start making good on its solar potential.
Although solar composes a fraction of the region’s energy supply, it is quickly becoming a valuable part of the region’s clean energy portfolio. As of February, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut together had a total installed solar capacity of approximately 781 megawatts – the equivalent of a large fossil fuel power plant.
Of course, establishing clear and long-term solar energy objectives provides an invaluable roadmap for that kind of solar success. In addition to reducing dependence on relatively costly conventional electricity and providing insulation from fossil fuel price volatility, increased solar deployment would create jobs, improve air quality and public health, increase grid reliability and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Sure sounds like a bright outlook for the tri-state region to us.