Albany, NY – September 17, 2013 – Following a brief suspension, a popular Long Island program that provides rebates for rooftop solar systems is now set to continue. Solar advocates applauded state energy leaders and Governor Cuomo for ensuring that the successful program continues to serve the region’s residents and growing solar industry.
Long Island’s Solar Pioneer program was suspended on August 30th due to strong participant demand outpacing budget constraints. The program has supported the installation of more than 6,600 residential solar energy systems. Yesterday the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced that it will provide the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) with $5 million to sustain funding for the rebate program through the end of 2013 while decision-makers consider the long-term structure of the state’s solar programs.
Long Island’s Solar Pioneer program is part of Governor Cuomo’s statewide NY-Sun Initiative, a public-private partnership designed to drive growth in the local solar industry and lower solar costs for all New Yorkers. Launched in 2012, NY-Sun has resulted in nearly 300 MW of new solar capacity installed and under development in New York. The program has propelled the state into the nation’s top 10 growth markets for solar according to U.S. Solar Market Insight®. More than 3,300 New Yorkers currently work in the solar industry. Governor Cuomo has committed to extending NY-Sun through 2023 to provide the long-term policy certainty necessary for robust investment in the state’s solar market.
Advocates issued the following statements in support of the decision to extend the LIPA Solar Pioneer program:
“Governor Cuomo’s NY-Sun was designed to do something remarkable: to transform the state’s energy landscape by making rooftop solar a cost-competitive option for New Yorkers. And the state’s homegrown solar industry is quickly delivering on that promise. By providing stability in the steps toward market transformation, this near-term extension of the Solar Pioneer program will deliver long-term dividends to New Yorkers in the form of energy resiliency, a healthy environment and quality jobs,” said Peter Olmsted, east coast policy advocate for the Vote Solar Initiative.
“SEIA applauds New York for stepping up its commitment to clean solar energy, which provides nearly 120,000 American jobs and continues to be one of the fastest-growing industries in the U.S. With this announcement and future commitments, New York is now a destination for new investment,” said Carrie Cullen Hitt, senior vice president at the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
“Governor Cuomo continues to show his commitment to our industry. This commitment is critical to New York State’s environment, but just as importantly to our energy and economic security,” said Shaun Chapman, president of the New York Solar Energy Industries Association (NYSEIA). “These actions strengthening NY-Sun clearly demonstrate to our membership that the Cuomo administration understands the importance of solar energy to New York.”
“We commend Governor Cuomo and NYSERDA for recognizing the importance of maintaining this highly successful program and ensuring its continuation throughout LIPA’s reorganization and the renewal process for New York’s statewide clean energy programs. This bridge funding will help ensure a stable market and affordability for the solar installers and consumers leading Long Island’s transition to a green energy future,” said Valerie Strauss, interim executive director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York (ACE NY).
“The Sierra Club applauds Governor Cuomo for his continued commitment to sustaining Long Island’s solar programs and his efforts to make New York a solar energy leader,” said Lisa Dix, senior New York representative for the Sierra Club. ”NY-Sun recognizes that increased investment in renewable energy means more jobs for New Yorkers and stronger economic development for New York.”
“Solar continues to be a leading growth industry that is supplying thousands of jobs in New York’s emerging clean energy economy. With this action of bridging necessary interim funding to the successful Solar Pioneer program on Long Island, Governor Cuomo continues to demonstrate his conviction toward remaking New York’s energy infrastructure more resilient, clean and environmentally sustainable,” said Pierre Bull, renewable energy policy analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
“As LIPA undergoes significant reforms in the coming year, it is vital that Long Island’s clean energy programs are sustained even as they undergo programmatic improvements,” said Jackson Morris, director of strategic engagement at the Pace Energy and Climate Center. “We commend Governor Cuomo for providing this bridge funding for the successful Solar Pioneer program, once again demonstrating how the RGGI program reduces global warming pollution while driving clean energy investment across the region.”
“The public has embraced clean, renewable solar energy, which is evidenced by the fact that solar demand continues to outpace available funding. CCE applauds the Cuomo administration for working to meet the growing public demand for solar by extending this vital program. This will provide more renewable energy, good jobs, and reduce pollution, which is good news for Long Island and all of New York State,” said Adrienne Esposito, executive director at Citizens Campaign for the Environment.
“LIPA’s Solar Pioneer program has helped build a vibrant market for solar electric systems on Long Island, jump started a local solar industry and created many jobs and a skilled labor force,” said Gordian Raacke, executive director of Renewable Energy Long Island. “We commend Governor Cuomo and NYSERDA for recognizing the importance of stability for the Long Island solar market and supporting it with interim funding.”
“This is good news for Long Islanders. It will help secure the new and existing jobs that have been created, while providing a clean and sustainable domestic energy supply. It’s a win-win,” said Bill Feldmann, chairman of the Long Island Solar Energy Industries Association (LISEIA).
NY-Sun is one of a suite of initiatives recently announced by the Governor and NYSERDA to bring more clean energy options to New Yorkers. Earlier this month, NYSERDA issued its vision for a long-term NY-Sun extension that would build a competitive local industry and maximize the program’s value to New Yorkers. NYSERDA also released bold plans for Governor Cuomo’s $1 billion Green Bank and commenced a comprehensive review of the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard and restructuring of its Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard.