Legislative, Business, Environmental and Public Health Leaders Call For Solar Overhaul

New Approach Needed to Expand New York’s Solar Market, Lower Peak Electricity Costs, Create Jobs and Economic Opportunities
January 31, 2012

(Albany, NY) Assemblymember Steven Englebright (D-Setauket) and Assembly Energy Committee Chair Kevin Cahill (D-Ulster, Dutchess) joined a diverse coalition of business, environmental and public health organizations to announce the introduction of legislation designed to completely overhaul New York’s approach to accelerating investments in solar power throughout the state. The bill (A.9149) would implement a cost effective market-based program to drive down peak electricity prices, increase system reliability and improve air quality. The new initiative would create local job and economic opportunities and secure New York’s leadership position in the global solar energy industry.

“The Solar Industry Development and Jobs Act will move New York to the forefront of America’s rapidly expanding solar industry and will create tens of thousands of new electrical device installation and manufacturing jobs for New York residents. Because our citizens and businesses already pay some of the highest energy costs in the nation, New York is perfectly suited for the expansion of solar-delivered energy usage that this bill will enable,” said Assemblymember Englebright.

“The economic, environmental and public health benefits of solar power are undeniable; this bill will finally allow us to take advantage of all solar has to offer by establishing a sustainable program to attract private sector investment in New York,” said Assemblymember Cahill. “New York’s solar programs have failed to provide the support needed for the industry to flourish. We need to start over from scratch; simply tinkering around the edges is not going to do the trick.”

"This bill would give New York State an edge and finally let our solar industry develop its full potential. New York already has a strong solar research and development community; a thriving in-state market is the perfect complement to ensure that progress and investment continues. A strong solar program will also help ratepayers control their energy costs and provide environmental benefits,” said Carol E. 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 solar jobs bill will not only provide new local economic development opportunity and good paying jobs, but it will also result in significant health benefits to all New Yorkers throughout the state by improving our air quality and removing global warming pollution equivalent to taking 95,000 cars off the road," said Pierre Bull, Air and Energy Policy Analyst, Natural Resources Defense Council.

“Environmental Advocates of New York applauds Assemblymembers Cahill and Englebright for putting the Empire State on a green path to reaping the economic and environmental benefits of increasing our share of clean, homegrown solar energy," said Ross Gould, Air & Energy Program Director, Environmental Advocates of New York. "Solar power will displace dirty fossil fuel-based electricity and protect scores of New Yorkers from the harmful effects of air pollution while cutting our share of climate-altering greenhouse gases."

“The Solar Jobs Act introduced today will do much more than its name implies,” said Jeff Seyler, CEO of the American Lung Association in New York. “In addition to creating jobs, this bill would significantly reduce our reliance on traditional dirtier sources of energy which pollute our air and make it hard for people to breathe. We commend Assemblymembers Englebright and Cahill for putting forth a strong piece of legislation which will drastically increase the use of renewable energy and would positively impact the lung health of New Yorkers.”

"The NY Solar Energy Industries Association (NYSEIA) applauds Assemblymember Englebright and Assembly Energy Committee Chair Cahill for introducing the New York Solar Jobs Act", said Ron Kamen, NYSEIA President and Chairman of EarthKind Solar Energy. "Passage of the Solar Jobs Act will create the stable, long-term program that will spur private industry's investment of billions of dollars in the NY Solar economy. This institutionalization of solar will create tens of thousands of jobs and put downwards pressure on ever-rising utility rates. By the end of the program, solar will be the least-cost delivered energy option, providing all residents, businesses and institutions the ability to control their energy costs and reduce their environmental footprint with the largest – and cleanest - energy generation source on the planet."

In its current form, the bill would:

  • Develop 5,000 MW of solar energy by 2026;
  • Deliver maximum benefits at minimum cost to New York 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;
  • Create tens of thousands of new high quality jobs, from manufacturing and design to construction and operation; and
  • Generate a multi-billion dollar boost in wages and economic output that could be reinvested in New York’s economy.