New York’s Solar Boom Mirrors National Trends
A solar energy update provided by Solar Energy Industries Association, the national trade association in the US that represents 1000 member companies that promote, manufacture, install and support the development of solar energy, shows that New York’s solar boom mirrors national trends. Their website indicates that “The U.S. solar industry now employs 260,000 Americans and last year was the number one source of new electric generating capacity, now supplying enough electricity to power the equivalent of 8.7 million homes.” SEIA attributes the rapid growth of the solar industry to a 70% drop in installation costs in recent years and a streamlining of government approvals and incentives. This solar boom is impacting home and business owners in all fifty states, including NY.
New York’s Solar Boom Fueled by State Support
A September 2016 article in the New York Times calculates that “the number of residential projects across the five boroughs has risen to more than 5,300 this year from 186 in 2011 and there are another 1,900 in the pipeline. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has called for half of the state’s electricity needs to come from renewable resources by 2030, while New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio wants greenhouse gas emissions in the city cut 80 percent by 2050.
The Governor announced in February 2017 that state-supported solar power in New York increased nearly 800 percent from December 2011 to December 2016, leveraging nearly $1.5 billion in private investment. “New York is a national leader in clean energy, and the tremendous growth of the solar industry across this state demonstrates this renewable technology’s increased accessibility and affordability for residents and businesses,” Governor Cuomo said via his website. “Our investments in this clean energy resource create jobs, reduce carbon emissions, support economic growth, and help build a cleaner, greener New York for all.”
The 795 percent solar growth in the State over the last five years is due to both policy and financial support provided by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the New York Power Authority, the Long Island Power Authority and other private and public sector actors. 64,926 projects were installed through the end of 2016, compared with 9,079 through the end of 2011. These state-supported projects total nearly 744 megawatts of solar power installed, an amount of electricity sufficient to meet the needs of more than 121,000 average homes.
Highlights of New York’s Solar Boom
Consider these highlights from the 2016 NYT article:
- The upfront cost for installing solar panels on a single-family house runs between $20,000 and $50,000, but federal, state and city incentives and tax credits can cut that cost in half, said David Sandbank, the director of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s NY-Sun initiative. Surveys of homeowners with solar installations save money on their monthly energy bills, sometimes as much as 85%.
- The solar industry itself has surged. According to the city’s Economic Development Corporation, five solar installers were operating in the five boroughs in 2005, but by 2015, the number had increased to about 55 companies, employing about 2,700 workers. “Solar was a niche market in New York in 2009,” Mr. Sandbank said. “Now you have major commitments from government officials that have made solar more affordable.”
- Tria Case, the director of sustainability at the City University of New York, said that coordination between government entities, utilities and installers has been “streamlined so it would be easier for folks to enter the solar process.” The city’s Department of Buildings now can issue a permit for a home solar system in a matter of days, not weeks.
Learn more about joining the New York solar boom by contacting one of our solar experts at Venture Home Solar. Call us today at 800-203-4158 to find out more about investing in solar energy! We are the local experts who know the “ins and outs” of our state policies here in New York, including the tax incentives and rebates that can make a solar installation on your home or business even more cost effective. Call Venture Home Solar today (800-203-4158) to get started!