Clean energy advocates gathered May 24th at Cornell’s Industrial and Labor Relations School in Buffalo to call for an expansion of solar power across the state. Holding a Solar Jobs Fair, members of the New York Solar Jobs Coalition along with business leaders and environmental advocates outlined the many opportunities for quality jobs that the solar industry can and will create.
With more than 300 solar power related businesses in New York State, this is a rapidly growing economy with a solid job creation potential. Studies show that within 10 years, solar will be the most cost effective energy resource, which will lead to even more skilled, high paying and sustainable jobs.
“The goal of this coalition is to bring together and put together state policy that can have New York be in the leadership of that development instead of tagging along at the end,” said Ron Kamen, Chairman of EarthKind.
Ron Kamen works extensively with the government at local, State and Federal levels to ensure a favorable climate for solar development. EarthKind is assisting the solar adoption goals of NYS by participating in Governor Cuomo’s NY-Sun Initiative which estimates a quadrupling of customer-sited photovoltaic capacity by 2013 and are supporting the master plan for accelerating energy-saving improvements in state facilities. That plan will call for substantial investment in cost-effective energy efficiency measures in state buildings over the next four years. State lawmakers have introduced legislation to implement a long-term solar plan and it has passed the energy committee in the Assembly.
On March 22nd, EarthKind’s Chairman spoke at a discussion series on Renewable Energy in NYC organized by RenewNEWYork. The City’s new heating oil rules require buildings to stop using heavy oils by 2030, and building owners are tempted to convert to gas, due to its current low price. But what is the true cost of “cheap” gas, when fracking could ruin our air and water, and bring radon-laden shale gas to our stoves? Are conservation, solar thermal and biodiesel realistic alternatives?
Starting off with energy facts, Kamen details the power of renewables: in one second the Sun generates more energy than has been used in all of human civilization, realistically all of that does not reach the Earth, however roughly 23,000TW/year of usable Solar Power does. With the entire world’s energy use of about 16TW/year, Solar is an option that we could and should take advantage of. Kamen also reminds us that almost 80% of the CO2 emissions in NYC come from buildings and 51% of all NYC building emissions are from heat and hot water usage. This presents a clear opportunity for Solar implementation.
Kamen discusses the Solar Hot Water as well as Solar Air Heating systems, both relatively simple and inexpensive solutions for residential and commercial use. He also discusses Solar Electric PV, which though at this time Solar PV costs a bit more than utility delivered electricity, there are current incentives that help bridge that expense and he predicts that in 10 years Solar will be the cheapest source of electricity in the world.
Other panelists were Chris Benedict, from Architecture and Energy Limited and Dehran Duckworth from TriState BioDiesel. The Moderator was Dan Miner of Beyond Oil NYC.
This discussion series is sponsored bythe following groups:The Environmental Task
Force of The Congregation of Saint Saviour; The Green Sanctuary Committee of the
Community Church of New York, UU; NYC Friends of Clearwater; Tri-State Food
Not Lawns/Neighborhood Energy Network; NY Climate Action Group; Sane Energy Project; United for Action; and WBAI’s Eco-logic.