New York announces funding for solar training


The administration of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has a lot to brag about in terms of support for renewable energy. Not only has the Cuomo Administration set one of the most ambitious renewable energy mandates in the nation, indefinitely extended net metering and embarked on a bold program to remake the structure of the distribution grid, it has also attracted the first commercial-scale manufacturing facilities for SolarCity and 1366 Technologies.

Today Cuomo continued upon this theme of strong support for solar by announcing new funding to train solar installers. In his state of the state speech, Cuomo proposed US$ 15 million in funding for a Clean Energy Opportunity Training Program, through which State University of New York (SUNY) and community colleges will train workers in solar technology and installation.

Politico reports that this will enable the training of 10,000 solar workers. The publication estimates that SolarCity, 1366 Technologies and LED maker Soraa will already be hiring 6,000 positions over the next few years.

Additionally, Cuomo reiterated goals to install solar PV on 150,000 homes and businesses by 2020 and convert SUNY facilities to renewable energy by that date, targets which were first announced in October.

It is possible that these moves will be enabled by the new Reforming the Energy Vision program; however whether or not this is effective distributed PV installations can still rely on net metering and at least for the next few years the MW Block incentive program.

However, while New York has an impressive array of policies on paper, installers have warned pv magazine of a number of market barriers, particularly in New York City. These installers have described fire department set-backs which greatly limit available roof space, as well as substantial delays in permitting due to limited capacity at the Department of Buildings.

These issues will be explored in the March print edition of pv magazine in an article dedicated to on-the-ground conditions in New York City’s solar market.