Assemblyman Herman D. Farrell, Jr. (D-71st) today announced the New York State Legislature passed key environmental legislation Farrell sponsored, authorizing annual tax credits of up to $62,500 to expand the availability and use of solar electric power in New York City.
“I want to make sure that, after a century and a half of filling the air with pollution, we leave our children with air that they are able to breathe,” Farrell said. “As the father of a young daughter, and the grandfather of two young granddaughters, it is critically important to me that we take every possible step to leave a better world for all of the children of our communities, much as our parents tried to do for us.
“As a lawmaker, I have worked hard to take steps toward a healthier future for every resident of New York State. This legislation, while important, is only one of the many things I would like to see done to continue the ‘greening’ of New York,” Farrell said.
Farrell, who represents Harlem, Inwood and Washington Heights, believes that state government should work harder to improve the environment. Now, with public sentiment leaning toward conservation and renewable energy, is the ideal time to advance a much-needed environmental agenda, Farrell said.
The bill, A11202, amends state property tax and education tax laws to allow the owners of a class one, two or four building in New York City to receive the tax credit on a sliding scale, depending on when the system is built, for up to four years. An 8.75 percent credit will be available to those who bring a solar system on-line prior to Jan. 1, 2011 while a credit of 5 percent will be available to those bringing a system on-line on or after that date.
A related program established last year, based on legislation also sponsored by Farrell, allows homeowners to take a state tax credit if they build solar arrays for their homes. The 2007 program helped pay for a solar generating system that is already in use by a cooperative apartment building in Manhattan and supplements electricity drawn from the power grid.
“It has been proven that the technology works. Now, we must make it more widely available,” Farrell said. Encouraging the use of renewable energy could benefit public health among other longstanding concerns, the Assemblyman said.
Recent research, including studies that became the basis of Mayor Bloomberg’s forward-looking PlaNYC 2030 initiative, shows that most harmful emissions in New York City emanate from buildings and not automobiles, which were the target of PlaNYC’s congestion pricing plan. A citywide reduction in heating- and cooling-related emissions has the potential to improve air quality to a greater degree than a seven percent reduction in Manhattan traffic was expected to achieve. Improved air quality has the potential to reduce the rates of asthma and related ailments that afflict many residents of Northern Manhattan and other parts of the city.
“This program could improve air quality and reduce asthma in my district and other parts of the city,” Assemblyman Farrell said.