The solar industry in the Northeast in the past five years has seen many ups-and-downs. Pennsylvania’s once booming market struggles while awaiting new support through legislation, Maryland and Delaware, while small, have seen strong and steady growth, and New Jersey just doubled down on its support for the solar industry through new funding. As things start to pick back up, New York State joins the ranks of strong support for the solar industry.
New York has held recent support for green jobs and its solar industry through NYSEIA, NYSERDA, the New York Solar Jobs campaign, and the NY-Sun Initiative. Earlier this month during Governor Cuomo’s 2013 State of the State address, he explicitly declared support for green jobs, stating:
“The economy of tomorrow is the clean tech economy. We all know it, it’s a foot race – whatever state, whatever region gets there first wins the prize, and we want it to be New York. We want to create the New York Greenbank, which is a $1 billion bank to leverage public dollars with private sector matched money to spur the clean economy. We want to extend the New York’s sun solar jobs program at $150 million annually for 10 years to increase solar panel installations for home and business. It’s good for the environment and it’s good for the economy.”
With Governor Cuomo’s charge, the year old NY Sun-Initiative is now solidified as New York’s flagship enterprise in moving towards a future of sustainable energy. With the proposed 1.5 billion dollar decade-long budget, the program will continue its dedicated mission of providing financial incentives for current and new solar photovoltaic (PV) system owners, reducing costs of project development and permitting, and providing funding for training for new workers for the solar industry.
Meanwhile, the proposed New York Greenbank’s goal is to provide funds for new renewable energy projects and programs that are sure to support the solar industry along with other sustainable ventures. Coming in the form of low-risk loans, grants, and investments, the Greenbank will help finance these projects with a mix of private and public funds. By doing this, the bank intends to increase market confidence in the private sector during a recovering economy, while boosting consumer assurance and public opinion.
In the third quarter of 2012 SEIA’s Solar Market Insight ranked New York as 12th in the nation for solar capacity, with a job market employing thousands of workers. Look for that ranking to rise quickly in the next few years with these new initiatives in place.