Environment New York
With the end of the legislative session approaching, advocates worry that a solar bill with widespread public and stakeholder support could fail to cross the finish line. The bill; which would extend the successful NY Sun program for 10 years and provide over $150 million annually to solar projects across the state, is supported by Governor Cuomo and was passed overwhelmingly the Senate on Earth Day. It has strong support in the Assembly and is poised to pass.
“Solar energy represents a great opportunity for New York to meet its energy and environmental challenges,” said Eric Whalen of Environment New York. “Unfortunately, we are lagging behind. New Jersey has five times more solar than New York, and states like Pennsylvania and Massachusetts are also ahead of us.”
To ensure the passage of this important solar initiative, the bill needs a final push from the Legislature. Public health officials and local representatives are urging the Legislature to consider the positive environmental, economic and health improvements of solar energy. The New York Sun Act of 2013 would put New York on a path to get 2,200 MW of solar by 2023, enough to power 400,000 homes; while providing environmental and economic benefits including:
- Offsetting 1.5 million tons of climate-altering CO2 emissions;
- Offsetting 51.6 tons of toxic Mercury;
- Generate over $2 billion in local economic development;
- Create an average of 1,700 jobs annually through 2022.
“Our state leaders know that New York can be a national leader on solar,” said Whalen. “Nevertheless, there is a real threat that lawmakers could leave Albany for their summer break without acting on this issue, ensuring New York will fall further behind on solar and depriving New Yorkers of the benefits of this pollution-free energy source; with no fuel costs.”
Thousands of concerned citizens along with dozens of Environmental groups, local representatives and public health officials have expressed their support for the bill through numerous letters and lobbying efforts. Concerned citizens from around the state urge the New York Legislature to remain engaged and vigilant to ensure that the State passes this effective solar legislation before leaving Albany this session.