New York Solar Businesses Are Ready to Roll with Clean Power

Media Contacts
Heather Leibowitz

Environment New York Research and Policy Center

New York, NY – Dozens of New York solar businesses issued a letter to the White House today, endorsing limits on carbon pollution from power plants and advocating that solar energy become a focal point of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan.

“As solar power installers, manufacturers, designers, aggregators, product suppliers, and consultants, we welcome the EPA’s unveiling of the Clean Power Plan,” reads the letter, organized by the advocacy group Environment New York. “This plan is a critical step toward transforming our energy system to one that protects our health and environment, and that of our children.” 

 To address the growing threat of climate change, in June the U.S. EPA proposed its Clean Power Plan, which would require New York’s power plants to cut carbon by 44% by 2030. The plan is open for public comment until December 1st, and could be finalized by next year.

States will have the flexibility to meet the limits introduced by the Clean Power Plan as they choose. Businesses signing the letter said the proposal could dramatically accelerate the development of clean energy across New York.

 “The Clean Power Plan is a huge opportunity for New York to massively increase its solar capacity. This letter shows the solar industry is ready to meet the challenge,” said Heather Leibowitz, Director of Environment New York.

 “We can no longer afford to ignore the wealth of evidence that our reliance on fossil fuels will continue to threaten the viability of life on this earth,” said Council Member Donovan Richards, Chair to the Committee on Environmental Protection. “I fully support the business community’s efforts to encourage the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and President Obama to promote usage of renewable sources of energy. The EPA’s Clean Power Plan will support New York City’s own goals to reduce our carbon emissions and preserve the planet for subsequent generations.”

 Solar power is on the rise across New York, where it’s grown an average of 44.28% annually in the last three years. According to the latest solar jobs census from the Solar Foundation, the solar industry employed more than 5,000 people in New York in 2013. Significantly, New York ranks fifth in the nation for statewide solar job creation.

 “With 143,000 Americans employed in the solar industry in more than 6,100 businesses across the nation, we stand by Gina McCarthy’s remarks that ‘we have never—nor will we ever—have to choose between a healthy economy and a healthy environment’’, states the letter. Additionally, it references the White House Solar Summit that took place last April— when Obama “highlighted that every four minutes, another American home or business goes solar”. Altogether, solar is that nation’s fasted growing source of renewable energy. The industry’s rate of job growth is unmatched by any other sector nationwide.

 Environment New York’s counterparts around the country recruited more than 528 solar businesses nationwide to the sign the letter, which was delivered today to the White House.

 “I applaud Environment New York for its stellar work in voicing the needs of solar businesses and calling for limits to the carbon pollution emitted by power plants across the nation,” said Assemblyman Walter T. Mosley. “Our environment is changing and we must take a firm stance to ensure that we are good stewards of previous natural resources. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan is a step in the right direction that leads to an increase in solar power and long term energy efficiency and sustainability.”

 “The climate crisis demands that we fulfill our vast potential for solar energy,” said Leibowitz. “Fortunately, solar businesses here in New York and across the country are ready and eager to rise to the challenge.”