Investing in Solar Energy: NY State Gov. Cuomo Calls for Quadrupling Solar Capacity by 2013

“In its first year, the NY-Sun Initiative will be capable of doubling the customer-sited photovoltaic capacity that was installed in 2011. By 2013, we estimate that NY-Sun will quadruple the 2011 capacity.” ~New York State Gov.Cuomo

According to Clean Energy Authority:

The move drew praise from solar advocates in the state, who remain steadfast in their resolve to push the short-term goals but continue to look long-term.

“It’s great that he’s focusing in on it and making it a priority as promised in his campaign. It’s putting us on [the right] trajectory,” said New York Solar Energy Industries Association (NYSEIA) President Ron Kamen. “This is a great step that he’s taking and showing leadership.”

Kamen also is chairman of solar installer EarthKind® Solar Energy.

Energy Excerpts from Gov. Cuomo’s State of the State Address: January 4, 2012

Invest in Solar While Protecting Ratepayers

New York is a national leader in renewable energy production and use. Not counting our large-scale hydropower resources, close to 2,000 megawatts of renewable energy capacity have been built in New York — a number nearly three times greater than the combined total of Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Moreover, we have one of the most cost-effective renewable resource development programs in the country.

New York is fortunate to have abundant water, wind, biomass, and solar resources. Over the decades, we have aggressively developed our hydroelectric resources and are making great progress in tapping our land-based wind resources. Now it is time to focus more attention on exploiting our solar potential. But we need to do this in ways that protect the ratepayer —and certain approaches that have been proposed do not meet both goals of expanding production of solar energy and protecting the ratepayer.

Solar power is still more expensive per megawatt hour to develop than other renewables. Therefore, we will greatly expand the state’s solar programs, but as we do so we will keep an eye firmly on costs. We will increase competitive procurement of large, commercial-sized solar projects. And we will expand rebate programs for residential and commercial small-to-medium systems.

In its first year, the NY-Sun Initiative will be capable of doubling the customer-sited photovoltaic capacity that was installed in 2011. By 2013, we estimate that NY-Sun will quadruple the 2011 capacity.

We will continue to establish New York’s technology leadership in this important emerging market while balancing investments in other renewable resources and protecting the taxpayer. This approach will create jobs, expand solar power, and protect ratepayers — a win, win, win.
“We passed an affordable energy policy with Recharge NY, on-bill energy efficiency financing, and, after a decade of trying, an Article X electric generation siting law. These programs will lower energy costs, promote energy efficiency, and reduce pollution.”

Strengthen Our Energy Infrastructure with an “Energy Highway” System to Power New York’s Economic Growth

Another key to powering our economic growth is expanding our energy infrastructure. Just as President Eisenhower’s interstate highway project propelled the nation forward in the 1950s, today the energy grid provides critical infrastructure and an opportunity for economic growth.

We have an excess of generation capacity and tremendous wind power potential in Upstate and Western New York and north of the border in Quebec. We have tremendous energy needs Downstate. Just as we built the New York State Thruway to unite distant parts of the state, we will develop an “Energy Highway” system that will bring excess fossil-fuel energy from Western New York downstate, and also tap into Upstate’s potential for renewable energy, like wind power. Just like we built the Northway, we will develop an energy expressway down from Quebec.
This will preserve Western New York’s current allocation of low cost hydropower and at the same time help address the energy needs of Downstate. To make this happen, we will issue requests for proposals to implement a master plan to power our needs for the next half-century. We believe private companies will finance and build $2 billion in infrastructure to complete the system and build the capacity to supply New Yorkers.
We will also work on repowering old and dirty plants so they stop polluting our urban neighborhoods and start increasing energy supply. The permanent Article X energy siting law we passed last year will be a critical tool to help with meeting
our energy needs and protecting our environment in this effort. Not only will it fast-track much needed energy generation projects, but it will also be a model for including some of the strongest environmental protection regulations in the nation.

Master Plan for Energy Efficiency in State Facilities

In order to promote energy efficiency — and, at the same time, save money, create jobs, and reduce pollution – we are developing a master plan for accelerating energy-saving improvements in state facilities. The plan will call for substantial investment in cost-effective energy efficiency measures in state buildings over the next four years. Millions of dollars can be saved if we implement economical energy efficiency measures. All of this will be accomplished at no cost to the state because the upfront investment will be repaid from the energy savings.
Beyond the financial benefit, this program will also create thousands of highly skilled jobs across the state, including energy auditors, planners, engineers, electricians, and construction workers, and it will reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by 8.1 million metric tons — roughly equivalent to removing 1.4 million passenger vehicles from the road for one year.