Harnessing the power of the sun creates local jobs, improves air quality, and stabilizes volatile energy costs. The solar energy potential for New York State is greater than Germany, the current world leader in installed solar capacity. For too long, short-sighted energy policies have shackled ratepayers to expensive and dirty fossil fuels. NYS trails other states and nations in installing clean, local, and sustainable solar energy. In 2006, NYS was ranked sixth among states in installed solar, and today NYS has fallen out of the top ten. The Governor and Legislature must adopt a strong solar energy policy now.
Solar Power for New York State
Solar power is clean, renewable energy that is generating locally. It must be a strong component of our energy future. Today, solar energy represents less than 0.01% of NY’s electricity generation, placing NYS behind neighboring states such as New Jersey. The solar industry is poised to quickly grow to meet demand, and NYS is ready to unleash its solar potential.
NYS can generate 5,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity from solar by the year 2026, which is enough energy to power approximately:
- 500,000 average NYS homes; or
- 100,000 (50 kW) grocery stores; or
- 50,000 (100 kW) schools; or
- 10,000 (500 kW) parking garages; or
- 5,000 (1 MW) shopping malls.
Substantially expanding solar power in NYS would:
Put New Yorkers to Work
Solar creates more jobs per MW than any other power source. Adding 5,000 MW of solar will create an estimated 22,000 jobs and inject over $500 million in annual wages into the New York economy through 2026. Jobs created would be well-paying, long lasting, and local positions across a wide spectrum of professions; including business managers, salespeople, engineers, installers, and electricians.
Help New Yorkers Breathe Easier
Electricity generated from solar creates zero harmful pollution to our air and water. The more solar energy generated in NYS means the less dirty, polluting fossil fuels will be used to meet our demand. Reliance on fossil fuels adversely impacts public health, specifically:
- Over 65% of New Yorkers live in counties where air pollution endangers lives.
- Annually, fossil fuel emissions cause 1,200 premature deaths and 25,000 heart attacks in NYS.
- Poor air quality triggers asthma attacks. Kids in the U.S. miss 14 million days of school annually due to asthma—the leading cause of school absenteeism due to a chronic illness in the nation.
Solar power generates the most energy when demand is at its peak in the summer, which avoids having to use more expensive and dirty fossil fuels. Generating 5,000 MW of solar power is the equivalent of removing:
- approximately 3 million vehicles from the road;
- 5 million tons of climate change causing carbon dioxide; and
- 13,000 tons of SO2 and 4,500 tons of NOx, precursors to acid rain and smog.
Generate Affordable, Homegrown Energy
New Yorkers can get back to work installing solar on our schools, stores, and homes for only 39 cents on our monthly electric bills, which is less than the cost of a postage stamp! The hidden costs of dirty fuels, such as poor air quality and environmental degradation are not included in their price. The continued burning of coal alone includes an unaccounted cost of $62 billion a year in the U.S. New Yorkers suffer a disproportionate share of the cost through more hospital visits resulting from severe damages to our respiratory systems; and acid rain polluting our lakes, streams, and rivers.
Invest New York’s Energy Dollars in New York
Unfortunately, NYS is dependent on out-of-state energy imports. New Yorkers send approximately $38 billion annually to out-of-state energy corporations. That’s $2,000 for every man, woman, and child living in NYS! Solar power can be produced in-state, keeping New York’s precious energy dollars in New York while creating local jobs.
More than 100 years ago, NYS made an investment harnessing the power of Niagara Falls to generate electricity. Today, the falls generates emission-free energy that is the cheapest power in NYS. Committing to generating 5,000 MW from solar energy by 2026 is an investment in a renewable energy source that will benefit current and future generations.
NY Solar Jobs Act
The NY Solar Jobs Act, which was introduced during the 2011 legislative session, would establish a baseline market for solar power in New York, requiring that 5,000 MW of solar are generated in NYS by the year 2026. The public demonstrated overwhelming support for the bill, with more than 42,000 signatures on petitions and 37,000 individual letters sent in support in 2011. In 2012, CCE continues to advocate for passage of this important legislation.
How you can help:
Email your NYS senator, Assembly member, and Governor Cuomo. Urge them to support passage of the Solar Jobs Act in 2012!
- Include your name and address in your email.
- Urge your NYS senator, Assembly member, and Governor Cuomo to support passage of the Solar Jobs Act (A. 9149 / S. 4178a)
- Ask them to respond in writing, informing you of their position.
- Identify and email your NYS senator
- Identify and email your NYS Assembly member
- Email Governor Andrew Cuomo
Victory!! Long Island Solar Farm (LISF)
A joint project between BP Solar, LIPA, BNL, and the U.S. Department of Energy, the 32MW solar farm provided hundreds of construction jobs. The project is the largest solar farm on the east coast and will provide enough energy to power 4,500 homes on Long Island. This project is an exciting example of how a promising clean energy technology of the future becomes today's reality. This transformational project truly begins to leave fossil fuels as a remnant of our polluting past and begins a new legacy for clean, safe, sustainable energy. CCE is proud to have supported this landmark project.
Read the article (and watch video), "Long Island Solar Farm Largest in State History". CCE Executive Director Adrienne Esposito narrates the BP Solar video on the Long Island Solar Farm.
Updated by bsmith 3/8/12