Strong Solar Policy Would Boost NY Economy

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We know solar energy creates more jobs per megawatt than any other energy source. But what does that mean for a state like New York that’s considering a big new solar program? We sat down to crunch the numbers – and the short answer is: if Albany gets that solar legislation across the finish line before the session ends this month, they will help create thousands of local jobs all over the state.

Hundreds of solar companies already employing thousands of New Yorkers are eager to grow to meet increased solar demand throughout the state (check out the map below). But in order to become a solar powerhouse, New York needs even stronger policies—policies that are long-term, create market certainty and send a clear signal to the global solar industry that New York is open for business.

Along with our NY Solar Jobs coalition, we released a new report this morning showing that building on the Governor’s NY-SUN program and developing 2,200 megawatts (MW) of New York solar power would lead to $2 billion in economic activity and create an average of 1,700 new jobs per year. In 2022, the year we anticipate the most economic activity, 2,300 jobs would be created.

In recent weeks, the bi-partisan solar push has gained new momentum in the state, with a video featuring blockbuster actor Mark Ruffalo, a poll that showed that 81% of New York voters support bold solar policy action and with the Newsday and the Syracuse Post-Standard editorial boards joining the Journal News and Times-Union in support.

A bill has passed the Assembly Energy Committee and Senator George Maziarz, Chair of the Energy Committee, has expressed support for expanding the use of solar energy. Governor Cuomo recently launched the NY-Sun plan to double the amount of energy produced by solar panels by 2013 and quadruple it by 2014. Now’s the time to get it done. If you live in New York, help us get it across the finish line with an email of support!

“New Yorkers know a good deal when they see one. As this study shows, solar energy has serious economic and environmental benefits,” said Marcia Bystryn, president of the New York League of Conservation Voters, one of our partners in the coalition. “Now it’s time for the Legislature to help transition New York to an innovation economy. Let’s pass robust solar legislation as soon as possible.“

Specifically, our report found that the benefits would include:

    • $2 billion in direct, local economic activity from project development

    • An average of 1,700 individual jobs each year through 2022 (17,000 “job years”)

    • 2,300 individual jobs supported in 2022 – the peak construction year

  • Include the removal 28,000 tons of sulfer dioxide, 14,200 tons of nitrous oxide, and 51.6 tons of mercury for cleaner, healthier environment – and that all adds up to one great deal for NY.

    The full report can be found here.

    About Author

    Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

    1 Comment

    1. Sandra Greer on

      I have been receiving lots of promotional material about Sungevity, so I contacted them. The problem is that I have a small brownstone (~ 16 ft wide) in Brooklyn. The city requires so much free area around the installation (6 feet on each side, apparently) that it is uneconomical to build the small solar (~2kW) that was planned. It ends up costing me to feed Con Ed at that size. Also, the rebates available do not apply to the zero-start lease-back plans that most of us can afford, only to cash in advance.

      We really need a plan for small flat roofs that would help Brooklyn. I support solar in general, and for statewide job growth. But I feel left out!

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