Solar advocates tell New York Senate Environmental Conservation Committee to expand solar investment

At a hearing today of the NYS Senate Majority and Environmental Conservation Committee on the Climate and Community Protections Act, leading renewable energy organizations Vote Solar, SEIA, NYSEIA and Alliance for Clean Energy New York (ACE NY) testified about the need for New York to quickly expand its investment in solar power as part of a more sustainable and robust clean energy economy.

Testimony Highlights:

  • Codify the Governor’s standard of 6 gigawatts (GW) of distributed solar, enough to power 1 million homes;
  • Ensure 20% of new residential solar serves low-income customers, enough to serve 100,000 families;
  • Direct all state agencies to account for climate and clean energy targets; and,
  • Direct NYSERDA to issue an annual report detailing the state of the solar industry and clean energy funding.

“Recently Governor Cuomo committed to creating a carbon-free electric system by 2040 and expanding the NY-Sun program to support 6 gigawatts of distributed solar by 2025 as part of his “Green New Deal” plan. This commitment would fulfill our campaign’s goal of powering one million households with solar as well as encouraging the further development of large-scale renewable resources, but legislative action is still required to support this effort,” said Sean Garren, Northeast senior director of Vote Solar, in his testimony today. “As we aim to fight global climate change and build a long-term, sustainable energy system, it is imperative that we start as quickly as possible — and solar is ready to hit the ground running.”

“Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature have a tremendous opportunity to pass legislation this year that would codify the state’s path to a clean energy future,” said Sean Gallagher, VP of state affairs for the Solar Energy Industries Association. “For New York to achieve its long-term objectives and realize the economic and environmental benefits of solar power, any energy legislation must advance the state’s short-term solar goals, require all renewable resources to provide a significant portion of the state’s electricity needs and ensure that solar energy is fairly valued.”

“Modern and clean renewable electricity technologies — like wind and solar power — lie firmly at the intersection of progressive policy and economic progress. When we transition to a clean energy economy, we will reduce air pollution, create in-state jobs, keep more energy dollars in-state, use electricity more efficiently, modernize the grid and the power plant fleet, and address climate change,” said Anne Reynolds, executive director of ACE NY in her testimony today. “My main message for you today is: To make any real and meaningful progress combating climate change, we need to build many more renewable energy projects, and soon.”

“Recognizing that a dramatic increase in solar deployment will be required to realize the goal of a carbon-free electric sector over the next few decades, NYSEIA urges the Legislature to adopt a new, robust solar-specific goal that dramatically expands solar access and creates a stable, predictable market for solar employment and investment. Just like the CCPA’s targets for greenhouse gas emissions, the goal should be enforceable and include interim targets to ensure progress. Governor Cuomo’s commitment to doubling distributed solar deployment to 6 gigawatts by 2025, which NYSEIA applauds, is a step in such a direction, as is the Million Solar Strong campaign’s goal of powering a million NY homes with solar by 2023,” said Shyam Mehta, executive director of NYSEIA in his testimony.

A copy of the testimony from all four organizations is available here.

Along with partners from the renewable energy industry, leading environmental organizations, academic institutions, social justice organizations, and advocates for solar energy, Vote Solar, ACE NY, SEIA and NYSEIA, are part of the Million Solar Strong Campaign, an effort to set a bold new goal of powering a million households with solar and serve 100,000 low-income families with cost-saving solar power by the year 2023. More than 40 New York State legislators have already endorsed this proposal, which advocates are urging lawmakers to codify in order to achieve the economic and climate action goals of the Governor’s Green New Deal. Learn more about the Million Solar Strong campaign, here.

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