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PRESS RELEASE

ALLIANCE FOR CLEAN ENERGY NEW YORK * AMERICAN LUNG ASSOCIATION IN NEW YORK * CITIZENS CAMPAIGN FOR THE ENVIRONMENT *ENVIRONMENTAL ADVOCATES OF NEW YORK, ENVIRONMENT NEW YORK * NEW YORK INTERFAITH POWER AND LIGHT * NEW YORK LEAGUE OF CONSERVATION VOTERS * NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL * PACE CLIMATE AND ENERGY CENTER *PHYSICIANS FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY NEW YORK CHAPTER *RENEWABLE ENERGY LONG ISLAND * SOLAR ALLIANCE * SOLAR ONE * VOTE SOLAR INITIATIVE
For immediate release:
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
For more information contact:
Sarah Eckel, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, 202-486-9007, seckel@citizenscampaign.org
Rosalind Jackson, Vote Solar, 510.708.6880, rosalind@votesolar.org
Carrie Hitt, Solar Alliance, 617.688.9417, Carrie@solaralliance.org

BUSINESS, ENVIRONMENT, PUBLIC HEALTH COALITION CALLS FOR PASSAGE OF THE SOLAR INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENT AND JOBS ACT OF 2011

Solar Act Would Expand New York’s Solar Market, Create Jobs and Economic Opportunity for New York Residents

Albany, New York – April 12, 2011 – Joined by bill sponsor Assemblymember Steven Englebright (D-Setauket) and bill co-sponsor and Energy Committee Chair Assemblymember Kevin Cahill (D-Ulster, Dutchess), a diverse coalition of business, environmental and public health organizations called for the passage of the New York Solar Industry Development and Jobs Act of 2011 (Solar Jobs Act: A.5713/S.4178). This bi-partisan legislation, sponsored by George Maziarz (R-C, Newfane) in the Senate, would develop a robust solar power market in New York State to drive local job and economic opportunity and secure a leadership position in the growing global renewable energy industry.

Once a leader in solar development, New York has fallen behind neighboring states like New Jersey. Despite tremendous in-state growth potential and a good solar resource, New York’s installed solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity currently represents less than 3% of the national share, or approximately 54 megawatts (MW). By comparison, New Jersey installed more than twice that amount of new solar in 2010 alone. To reverse this trend, the Solar Jobs Act provides an effective framework for long-term solar market growth and job creation in New York.

In its current form, the bill would:

• Develop 5,000 MW of solar PV, which would provide enough safe, reliable renewable electricity to power 500,000 average households.
• Create tens of thousands of new high quality jobs, from manufacturing and design to construction and operation.
• Generate a multi-billion dollar boost in wages and economic output that could be reinvested in New York’s economy.
• Deliver maximum solar benefits at minimum cost to New York electricity consumers.
• Decrease the state’s production of harmful emissions by reducing the need for fossil fuel based electricity generation, especially at times of peak energy demand.

“The Solar Industry Development and Jobs Act will move New York to the forefront of our nation’s growing solar industry,” said Assemblymember Englebright. “The proposed legislation will provide quality jobs for New Yorkers and decrease our dependence on increasingly expensive fossil fuels while improving our standard of living through cleaner air for everyone.”

“New York has a huge untapped potential for solar energy, particularly in the hot summer months when electricity demand peaks,” said Assemblymember Cahill. “This innovative program compliments our already successful efforts at promoting wind, biomass and hydro power. It is a cost effective solution that will allow us to meet our energy needs with clean, renewable power while creating new economic opportunities throughout the State.”

“An investment in New York solar is an investment in the New York economy, upstate and downstate alike. Today, our state is losing jobs and investment over our borders to neighbors like New Jersey that have stronger solar policies in place. This bill would put New York back on top and harness our state’s solar economic potential,” said Carol Murphy, Executive Director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York, Inc. (ACE NY), an Albany-based nonprofit dedicated to promoting clean energy and energy efficiency.

“The timing for action on this bill is ideal given the declining cost of solar, increased costs of fossil fuels and availability of federal tax credits,” said Carrie Hitt, President of The Solar Alliance, a state-focused association of solar equipment manufacturers, integrators, and financiers. “Not only would New York residents benefit from improved pricing in the industry, but the state would also be well-positioned to attract significant solar investment.”

"Senator Maziarz and Assemblymembers Englebright and Cahill are taking bold bi-partisan leadership now to ensure a bright future for generations of New Yorkers," said Shaun Chapman, Director of East Coast Campaigns for the Vote Solar Initiative, a national grassroots solar advocacy organization. "These common sense solutions -- creating new clean energy jobs for New York through our homegrown solar energy resource -- will benefit New York today, tomorrow and for decades to come."

"Let the sun shine and let the energy flow! Harnessing the power of the sun to generate clean, renewable solar power will help put New Yorkers back to work and keep energy dollars working for our state's economy," said Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment. "The sky is the limit when it comes to New York's solar potential, and it's high time that we tapped into that potential. We thank Senator Maziarz and Assemblyman Englebright for their leadership, and urge both houses to pass the bill as soon as possible."

“This is an important bill for the future of New York's economy – providing the right framework to build a world-class solar industry right here in the Empire State – with benefits including tens of thousands of new job opportunities, consumer energy savings and helping to clean our environment,” said Pierre Bull, Policy Analyst for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

"Increasing the use of solar energy reduces the air pollution that limits people's ability to breathe," said Irwin Berlin, MD, board chair of the American Lung Association in New York. "The Lung Association strongly supports this bill, which will clean our air, help New Yorkers breathe easier and improve lung health."

The New York Solar Jobs Act is supported by a broad coalition, including:

ACE NY, the American Lung Association in New York, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Environmental Advocates of New York, Environment New York, New York Interfaith Power and Light, New York League of Conservation Voters, NRDC, Pace Climate and Energy Center, Physicians for Social Responsibility – New York Chapter, Renewable Energy Long Island, Solar Alliance, Solar One and the Vote Solar Initiative.

For more information about the Solar Jobs Act, visit: http://votesolar.org/new-york-solar-jobs-act-of-2011/
 

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Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE) empowers communities and advocates solutions for our shared environment and public health and is supported by over 80,000 members throughout New York State and Connecticut. www.citizenscampaign.org

updated by dglance  4/12/11