Solar power in New York increased more than 1,000% 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 Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’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 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 MW. Projects are installed and operational at 18 locations with the one remaining solar project expected to be operational in the coming months.
Dan Montante, president of 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.”
“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% 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% 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 MW (78,323 solar projects) were installed through the end of December 2017, compared with 83 MW (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.
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. Long Island now has approximately 420 MW 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.
There are 1,097 MW of solar projects currently under development statewide. In that pipeline are 728 MW 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.
News item from NYSERDA