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Source: The Buffalo News

Passing Solar Jobs Act will benefit entire state

Posted: May 22, 2011
Originally Published: May 20, 2011

The News got it right when it commended Sen. George Maziarz for introducing the Solar Jobs Act, important legislation that will provide significant benefits to Western New York and the entire state. Opposition to the Solar Jobs Act from the New York State Business Council is perplexing, to say the least, because the bill would create good jobs, stabilize energy prices and generate clean, homegrown energy.

The solar industry is thriving in states, such as New Jersey, that have already implemented similar programs. Without an effective solar program, businesses will continue to look past New York for greener pastures. The Solar Jobs Act is estimated to generate 22,000 good-paying, local jobs and pump $20 billion into the economy over the life of the program. Perhaps this is why so many businesses, including GE and Dow, support the legislation. Local businesses are particularly well positioned to benefit from joining the solar supply chain due to the existing manufacturing base and availability of low-cost power.

The Solar Jobs Act can be implemented for less than the cost of a postage stamp to consumers on their monthly electric bills. Consumers also benefit from increased grid reliability, curbing of summer electric price spikes and a cost cap to ensure affordable energy prices.

Current programs have failed to expand the solar market. New York produces roughly .01 percent of its electricity from solar. That’s disappointing, considering New York has more solar potential than Germany, the world leader in solar. It is imperative that the Legislature pass the Solar Jobs Act into law this session.

Brian P. Smith

Communications and Program Director, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Buffalo