New York — On the first day of Climate Week 2021, Governor Kathy Hochul announced a call for the expansion of the highly successful NY-Sun program to achieve an expanded goal of at least 10 gigawatts of distributed solar installed by 2030.
Expanding the program is expected to help bolster the State’s economic recovery following Covid-19 with the creation of an additional 6,000 solar jobs beyond the 12,000 that now exist across the state, a portion of which will be ongoing operations and maintenance jobs which will remain throughout the 25+ year project lifespans.
The program expansion will also deliver at least 35 percent of the benefits from the investments to disadvantaged communities and low-to-moderate-income New Yorkers. Increasing solar energy capacity statewide will rapidly accelerate progress to exceed New York’s nation-leading Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goal for 70 percent of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030 on the path to a zero-emission grid.
“New York State must be more aggressive in setting the bar higher in recognition of the reality of climate change and the closing window of time to stop the worst impacts nationally and globally,” Governor Hochul said. “With this expansion, we are demonstrating New York State’s commitment to increasing the amount of renewable energy flowing to the electric grid as well as creating more jobs in the solar industry in support of our growing clean energy economy. Climate change is a public health issue – we need to fight with everything we’ve got in order to ensure generations to come will be able to thrive on a healthy, efficient planet.”
Governor Hochul called upon the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and New York State Department of Public Service to develop a distributed solar roadmap to be issued this fall to chart a path to advance an expanded NY-Sun goal of at least 10 gigawatts by 2030 in a resilient, cost-effective and responsible manner. The projects resulting from the expanded goal are expected to power nearly 1.7 million homes and will be advanced comprehensively- including serving those in disadvantaged communities.
The Roadmap will ensure these projects are developed and sited in a manner that fully considers land use and are advanced in close collaboration with local stakeholders and agricultural communities. Once the Roadmap is filed with the Public Service Commission, it will be issued for public comment and subsequent decision-making in early 2022.
Doreen M. Harris, President and CEO and Climate Action Council Co-Chair, NYSERDA said, “Governor Hochul’s directive to expand the NY-Sun goal sends a clear signal that New York State is committed to continuing to grow its thriving solar industry, in recognition of the critical role that solar energy plays in meeting the State’s climate and clean energy goals. We expect 2021 to be New York’s largest year yet for distributed solar installations and stand ready to develop and implement the roadmap that will chart our course for the years ahead to ensure an expanded, resilient and thoughtful approach inclusive of all New Yorkers.”
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner and Climate Action Council Co-Chair Basil Seggos said, “This bold announcement during Climate Week 2021 builds on New York’s nation-leading climate actions and is another critical step to achieve our goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Coupled with the State’s landmark investments to strengthen our communities’ ability to withstand severe storms and future flooding and our work advancing sustainable solutions to address pollution, New York continues to serve as a model for other states and we are expanding our efforts to meet the climate challenge with Governor Hochul’s leadership.”
Senator Kevin Parker, Energy Chair said, “The NY-SUN program has been proven to be an effective resource for our great State. I am proud that Governor Hochul and NYSERDA are calling for the expansion of this program. NY-SUN has proven to be effective and the expansion will help us to support the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goals and increase job opportunities. I applaud NY-SUN for their hard work and look forward to the strides they will make after the expansion.”
Senator Todd Kaminsky, Environmental Conservation Chair said, “The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act envisions a future where we stop relying on fossil fuels. This expansion of our State’s potential to harness solar energy will create green jobs and save our environment. Thankful to Governor Hochul for recognizing the value of this investment in our future.”
Assemblymember, Energy Chair Michael Cusick said, “Solar power is a crucial component and key factor in achieving our clean energy goals. I am glad to see that Governor Hochul is prioritizing the expansion of the successful NY-Sun program to continue to expand our state’s solar capacity. Not only is the expansion of our solar capacity crucial for our energy grid but it is also an economic driver which will create thousands of good-paying jobs across the state.”
Assemblymember Chair Steve Englebright, Environmental Conservation said, “The New York Sun program helps make clean non-polluting solar power affordable for New Yorkers.
Energy produced from solar sources is a key component necessary, to move away from greenhouse gas-producing fossil fuels. We must address climate change now – hurricanes, floods, wildfires, are more frequent and worsened by the heating of the planet. Extreme weather is taking lives and costing billions. I applaud Governor Hochul for taking critical action to address climate change while reducing the cost of power and creating new jobs”.
“With this announcement, Governor Hochul has laid out a strong and equitable vision for New York’s distributed solar sector and cemented its role in realizing our state’s electric sector and economy-wide decarbonization targets as mandated by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act of 2019,” said NYSEIA Executive Director Shyam Mehta. “Crucially, this announcement also emphasizes the importance of ensuring that the benefits of a continued buildout and scale-up of rooftop and community solar in New York flow to individuals and communities that need it the most, namely low-and-moderate income communities and those affected by environmental justice issues. NYSEIA commends Governor Hochul and her administration for their leadership in setting up New York as a national leader for distributed solar in the years to come, which will create thousands of good-paying jobs and position solar energy as a vital pillar in New York’s economy.”
“Governor Hochul’s 10-gigawatt target for distributed solar will help us expand rooftop and community solar to even more families in New York, all while cleaning our air, creating high-quality jobs, and strengthening our communities,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, President and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association. “New York is already experiencing the impacts of climate change and local, onsite solar and storage projects can help us boost our resilience. The solar industry stands ready to help New York meet this ambitious target.”
“We applaud Governor Hochul’s leadership in positioning New York as a top-tier state for solar growth and building upon its status as a leading community solar market,” said Kaitlin Kelly O’Neill, Northeast Regional Director for the Coalition for Community Solar Access. “These ambitious new solar energy targets will benefit New York residents by delivering energy cost savings, creating new jobs, and expanding equity in the clean energy economy. We look forward to working with the Hochul administration to grow community solar and contribute to the goal of solar access for all New Yorkers.”
“This exciting new commitment to local solar in New York, combined with New York’s planned procurement of grid-scale renewables, demonstrates that the Empire State is serious about climate action and reaching 70% renewable energy by 2030, said Anne Reynolds, Executive Director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York. “The clean energy industry applauds this commitment and looks forward to continuing to invest and grow in New York.”
Currently, installed distributed solar projects, combined with the projects that are under development, bring the State to 95 percent of the current Climate Act goal to install six gigawatts of solar by 2025. In 2020, New York was ranked first in the nation in Community Solar installations and second for total installations. There are currently over 114,000 NY-Sun-supported projects and nearly 6,000 in the NY-Sun pipeline, which are complemented by 73 New York State-supported utility-scale solar projects under development throughout the state – together, these projects will deliver enough electricity to power more than 2.2 million homes once completed.