New York solar jobs and development act “putting state further behind northeast neighbors”


“New York is falling further and further behind other states in developing the solar economy and moving toward energy independence,” said NYSEIA president Ron Kamen, who is also senior vice president of Earthkind Solar. “It’s more than unfortunate that a measure, which could create tens of thousands of green jobs in New York State was not passed.”

??The legislation approved by the Assembly Energy Committee has the potential to create more than 22,000 green jobs and USD$20 billion in economic output over the next 15 years, but it did not receive full legislative approval.??

In comparison to New York, New Jersey had more than triple the amount of photovoltaics (PV) solar electric installations as of last year. The Empire State has also committed a fraction of its solar allocation through the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and agreements with utilities.??

New York’s current commitment is less than 350 megawatts (MWs) through 2015 with the approved RPS and the 150 MWs of Power Purchase Agreements from the NY Power Authority and the Long Island Power Authority. New Jersey’s solar commitment, on the other hand, is 4,600 MWs through 2024.

??“It is sad that several NYS utilities opposed the solar jobs program by conducting an 11th hour ambush that included over-exaggerated program costs as well as inaccurate and misleading statements,” Mr. Kamen stated.??

Investor-owned utilities opposed the bill as too costly for consumers, while NYSEIA said the legislation would actually protect against higher costs in the long run by breaking New York’s dependence of ever-rising fossil fuel costs. The cost was estimated at 39 cents on the average household utility bill.??

“Greater investment in New York’s abundant solar resource is part of the solution to breaking the cycle of double-digit utility rate increases,” concluded Gail Markels, NYSEIA executive director. “This legislation is critical to New York’s future. A strong coalition supported this bill and we will continue to advocate for its passage.”??

Among the coalition of organizations supporting the bill’s passage were Vote Solar, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Solar Alliance, the Apollo Alliance and the Alliance for Clean Energy New York.