New York made notable progress this legislative session on a proposal to open up access to affordable solar energy to all energy customers. Assembly Bill 9931 / Senate Bill 7727 would have enabled shared solar arrangements in which customers could subscribe to a local solar or wind project, and receive credit on their utility bills for their portion of the clean power produced.
This legislation would have built on the impressive success of the New York solar market to date – in 2013, $343 million was invested in NY to install solar on homes and businesses, with enough solar installed in the state to power 41,700 homes. Yet the traditional panels-on-your-roof approach to solar simply doesn’t work for the majority of New Yorkers, including renters, families and businesses in multi-unit buildings, homeowners with shaded roofs, and plenty of other would-be solar customers. Shared solar legislation would give these New Yorkers the opportunity to choose affordable solar energy for the first time.
The bill, sponsored by Democratic Assemblywoman Amy Paulin and Republican Senator George Maziarz, made it all the way to the Assembly floor on the last day of the legislative session (June 19) but ultimately the legislature did not vote on it this year.
At Vote Solar we know all too well that passing important legislation is often a multi-year endeavor, and so the broad coalition of organizations supporting this campaign – including local environmental groups, solar businesses, affordable housing advocates, and even our favorite Oscar-nominated renewable energy advocate Mark Ruffalo – deserves a shout out for its work this session:
- We held dozens of positive meetings with legislators on both sides of the aisle, discussing how shared clean energy can benefit New Yorkers from Buffalo to Binghamton to the Bronx
- 8,115 New Yorkers signed a petition or sent letters of support to their elected officials
- The shared solar approach was even featured in the New York Times
New York is turning heads with its forward-thinking approaches to energy planning, and we’re confident that with your help the Empire State can make solar for all a reality in 2015.