SEIA | Washington, DC — Growing by 105 percent, New York had the seventh most new solar capacity added last year in the nation, according to the recently-released U.S. Solar Market Insight 2014 Year in Review. The state also maintained its Top 10 ranking in total installed capacity, finishing the year behind only New Jersey and Massachusetts among Northeastern states.
In 2014, New York added 147 megawatts (MW) of solar electric capacity, bringing its total to 397 MW. That’s enough clean, affordable energy to power nearly 70,000 homes.
The report went on to point out that New York’s biggest solar gains came in residential installations, but commercial installations were strong, as well, setting a new record. Of the new capacity added, 89 MW were residential, 49 MW were commercial and 9 MW were utility scale. Together, these installations represented a $451 million investment across New York – a 33 percent increase over the previous year.
“To put the state’s remarkable progress in some context, the 397 MW of solar installed today in New York is more than our entire country had installed by 2007. That’s an amazing achievement,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “What’s more, we expect 2015 to be New York’s best year ever for new PV installations, with more than 250 MW on new capacity projected to come online. We congratulate Gov. Cuomo, his administration and legislative leaders for their commitment to New York’s clean energy future.”
Today, there are 538 solar companies at work throughout the value chain in New York, employing more than 7,300 people. New York’s notable solar projects include:
* Long Island Solar Farm was developed by BP Solar. This photovoltaic (PV) project has the capacity to generate 32 MW of electricity – enough to power more than 5,000 New York homes.
* At 5 MW, Eastern Long Island Solar Project is among the largest solar installations in New York. Completed by EDF Renewables, this PV project has enough electric capacity to power more than 800 homes.
* Many large retailers in New York have also gone solar, including Walmart, Kohl’s, Macy’s and Target.
* Anheuser-Busch has installed one of the largest corporate photovoltaic systems in the state with 797 kilowatts (kW) of solar capacity at their location in Bronx.
In addition to a growing commercial sector, New York’s residential market also showed significant gains last year, with installed system prices dropping by 8 percent – and down a total of 49 percent since 2010. Nationwide, the U.S. residential market added 1.2 GW of installed capacity in 2014, marking the first time that this growing sector surpassed 1 GW of clean, affordable solar. Residential also continues to be the fastest-growing market segment in the U.S., with 2014 marking three consecutive years of greater than 50 percent annual growth
From an environmental perspective, solar installations in New York are helping to offset nearly 325,000 metric tons of harmful carbon emissions, which is the equivalent of removing more than 70,000 cars off state roads and highways or saving 363,000 gallons of gasoline.
“Today, the U.S. solar industry employs 174,000 Americans nationwide – more than tech giants Apple, Google, Facebook and Twitter combined – and pumps nearly $18 billion a year into our economy,” Resch added. “This remarkable growth is due, in large part, to smart and effective public policies, such as the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), Net Energy Metering (NEM) and Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). By any measurement, these policies are paying huge dividends for both the U.S. and New York economies, as well as for our environment.”