Governor Cuomo: Let’s enable a robust and sustainable solar industry to develop in New York State

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Pierre Bull, Policy Analyst, Air & Energy, New York City

Governor Andrew Cuomo today called for a major expansion of his NY-Sun Initiative in his 2013 State of the State address. First announced in his State of the State last January, his NY-Sun Initiative called for “doubling solar installations in 2012 and quadrupling in 2013.”  So far all indications prove that the NY-Sun Initiative is not only meeting these short-term build-out goals, but is in fact exceeding them. We have advocated to our leaders in Albany that we should build on the early success of the NY-Sun and make a long-term commitment to build a sustained and transformed New York solar marketplace.

The Governor has listened. Today he announced (on page 31 of his ambitious 200+ page State of the State report) a long-term commitment to NY-Sun, expanding the program into a 10 year, $150 million/year program.

Extend the NY-Sun Solar Jobs Program

Last year Governor Cuomo created the NY-Sun solar jobs program to bolster the use of solar power in New York, while also protecting the ratepayer. The goal of NY-Sun is to install twice as much customer-sited solar photovoltaic capacity in 2012 as was added in 2011, and to quadruple the 2011 amount in 2013. The NY-Sun program is authorized through 2015. This year, Governor Cuomo proposes to extend the successful NY-Sun program, continuing through 2023 the existing annual funding levels established under the program. The extended solar jobs program will provide longer program certainty to solar developers than current programs, funded through 2015, and is expected to attract significant private investment in solar photovoltaic systems, enable the sustainable development of a robust solar power industry in New York, create well-paying skilled jobs, improve the reliability of the electric grid, and reduce air pollution.

We look forward to working with the Governor and his staff in crafting a long-term program that results in a robust and sustainable industry that will deliver affordable, clean solar energy, jobs and local economic investment for all New Yorkers. With this foundation of a long-term and clear commitment to the state’s solar industry, New York will be well on its way toward a transformed state solar energy market — incentives are applied fairly, transparently, and to their fullest extent, and efforts such as the SMART NY continue to move foward in their efforts remove barriers and increase access to solar power. 

With New York at the crossroads of its energy future, the State has a unique opportunity to revisit its solar programs in a comprehensive fashion and build a sustainable market where cost-competitive solar energy is a core component of a 21st century energy infrastructure. As my friend, Peter Olmsted, at the Vote Solar initiative says, “Now comes the hard part: turning talk into reality.”

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