Governor Cuomo Announces More Than 1,000 Percent Growth of Solar Power in New York | Montante Solar

Governor Cuomo Announces More Than 1,000 Percent Growth of Solar Power in New York

Since 2011, Solar Growth Leveraged $2.8 Billion in Private Investment, fueling 12,000 jobs Across the State

February 05, 2018

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced today that solar power in New York increased more than 1,000 percent from December 2011 to December 2017, leveraging more than $2.8 billion in private investment into New York’s growing clean energy economy. Solar is critical to achieving the Governor’s mandate for half of all electricity consumed to come from renewable energy sources by 2030 and cements New York as one of the national leaders in clean energy growth.

“Solar is a vital part of this state’s clean energy future and we have experienced unprecedented growth in this new sector,” Governor Cuomo said. “We will continue to support the development of solar, helping to spur economic growth, creating new jobs and helping to build a cleaner, greener and more sustainable New York for all.”

The announcement was made today by Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul at McKinley High School in Buffalo, where she also lauded what is currently the largest state-supported solar project in a school district in New York State. The 19 solar installations at Buffalo Public Schools total nearly 3 megawatts. Projects are installed and operational at 18 locations with the one remaining solar project expected to be operational in the coming months. In total, the projects are anticipated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 1,700 metric tons annually, the equivalent to removing more than 370 cars from the road.

“Governor Cuomo has committed New York to lead by example in our pursuit of fighting climate change and achieving bold clean energy goals, and this 1,000 percent solar growth milestone is a significant marker of progress,” Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said. “I commend the Buffalo Public School System for recognizing the importance of reducing its carbon footprint and for combining education with operation, installing the largest state-supported solar project in New York schools and providing students with the opportunity for hands-on learning in the industry. Investing in solar is part of New York’s strategy to boost renewable energy while creating jobs of the future.”

The more than 1,000 percent solar growth in the state over the last six years was supported by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority through the $1 billion NY-Sun program, the New York Power Authority, and Long Island Power Authority. 972.2 megawatts (78,323 solar projects) were installed through the end of December 2017, compared with 83 megawatts (8,989 projects) through the end of 2011. The current projects produce enough electricity that would be sufficient to meet the needs of more than 159,000 average homes.

Today’s announcement also is another example of how solar is growing across the state into every community, supporting the Governor’s 2018 State of the State proposal to expand more solar into communities for low income customers, advancing their participation in the growing clean energy economy and protecting their environments from the harmful effects of climate change.

Richard L. Kauffman, Chairman of Energy and Finance for New York said, “A 1000 percent growth in solar shows how viable and affordable clean energy technologies have become in the State for consumers and public and private entities. Under Governor Cuomo and our nation-leading clean energy initiatives, New York is leading the way in combating climate change bringing in substantial investment from the private sector which has fueled impressive solar growth over the past six years.”

The significant growth of solar power is attributed to a combination of factors, including the NY-Sun Megawatt Block Incentive program and a decline in solar equipment prices and a growing solar installation industry.

Alicia Barton, NYSERDA President and CEO, said, “Today’s remarkable milestone of 1000 percent solar growth demonstrates that, under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York is rapidly marching towards our commitment to meet 50 percent of our statewide electricity needs with renewable energy by 2030. Solar energy is increasingly the first choice for consumers who want to reduce carbon emissions while lowering their energy bills and these projects are creating thousands of good quality jobs all across our state- it’s a win for customers, communities, for the environment and our economy.”

The largest percentage increase in solar power was in New York City, followed by the Mohawk Valley, Mid-Hudson, Central New York and the Capital Region.

The following table highlights the significant expansion of solar power under NYSERDA in each region of the state from the end of 2011 through the end of December 2017:

Region Projects Installed Through 2011 Projects Installed Through Dec. 2017 Percent Megawatt Increase (%) Percent Projects Increase (%)
Capital Region 991 9,914 1,463 900
Central New York 185 1,970 2,393 965
Finger Lakes 266 2,257 2,275 748
Long Island 4,756 26,077 520 448
Mid-Hudson 1,353 17,511 1,518 1,194
Mohawk Valley 162 2,211 2,510 1,265
New York City 404 12,326 1,634 2,951
North Country 200 1,250 1,092 525
Southern Tier 402 2,348 1,396 484
Western New York 360 2,459 887 583
Total 9,079 78,323 1,071 763

Long Island now has approximately 420 megawatts of installed solar capacity, enough to power more than 70,000 average homes. Many of these projects received funding through the NY-Sun program or PSEG Long Island solar programs. Long Island is the first New York region to meet the State’s megawatt block target for the residential market, underscoring the effectiveness and success of NY-Sun and the other Long Island utility programs. The residential momentum across Long Island is expected to continue because of federal and state tax credits, affordable financing for underserved communities, and an established market of solar developers.

In addition to the more than 1,000 percent increase of completed projects, there are 1,097 MW of solar projects currently under development statewide. If built, those installations would produce enough energy to power more than 186,000 average homes.

In that pipeline are 728 megawatts of community solar projects that will expand the market to residents who cannot put solar panels on their own homes. New York also receives on average 900 applications monthly for residential systems.

Maps showing megawatts of solar for counties in each New York region and a chart illustrating pre-NY-Sun versus post-NY-Sun figures can be found here.

In 2014, Governor Cuomo made a historic commitment of nearly $1 billion to NY-Sun to stimulate the marketplace and increase the number of solar electric systems across the State over 10 years. NY-Sun aims to add a total of three gigawatts of installed solar capacity in the State by 2023. One gigawatt equals 1,000 megawatts. New York now has more than 12,000 workers engaged in solar jobs.

Senator Joseph Griffo, Chair, Senate Energy & Telecommunications Committee said, “Consumers paying for electricity are the ones who will benefit from generating energy from as many sources as possible. While our state has a diverse energy supply that come from sources such as solar, it is important that we make sure this supply is well maintained while we also seek ways to increase our renewable generation. But we must make sure that this is done at a reasonable cost to ratepayers.”

Assemblymember Michael Cusick, Chair, Assembly Committee on Energy, said, “This 1,000 percent growth in solar power in New York is truly a testament to the state’s commitment to ensuring a clean energy tomorrow for all. I thank the Governor and my partners in the state legislature for helping to achieve this goal and I look forward to moving New York forward as a leader in clean energy projects.”

Buffalo Public Schools Superintendent Kriner Cash, “This project, on the heels of our $1.4 billion reconstruction of schools, shows that the Buffalo Public Schools staff and Board of Education members are demonstrating that we are progressive stewards of our schools by implementing one of the largest solar panel projects in the state. I want to thank Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul, Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes, the Sierra Club, and the New York State Department of Education for their support of this magnificent initiative. This project will provide a living laboratory for the students who are educated in our schools, reduce our carbon footprint, and help insure stable cost-effective power for years to come.”

Dan Montante, President, Montante Solar, which is developing the Buffalo schools projects, said, “By utilizing solar power, the school district is reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and helping contribute to a cleaner environment. Just as important are the career opportunities that renewable energy provides for students in this emerging industrial sector.”

Aaron Bartley, Executive Director, PUSH Buffalo said, “PUSH Buffalo’s Community Hiring Hall is an innovative workforce solution for local contractors and workers who have historically encountered barriers to employment in the Buffalo labor market. In partnering with PUSH, Montante Solar has decided to walk the high road and place local workers in family sustaining jobs on the frontlines of the emerging renewable energy economy.”

For more information about the NY-Sun program, visit the NYSERDA website.

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