Solar installations grew by more than 300% in New York State between 2011 and 2014, governor Andrew Cuomo has announced.
As of December 2014, more than 314MW of solar were installed, which is the equivalent of powering 51,000 homes. The solar growth is double the rate of the rest of the US, which grew by 146% from 2011 to 2014, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
A decline in solar electric component prices and a growth in the number of installer businesses marketing solar electric directly to consumers were cited as major factors in the rise of solar in the state. It was also attributed to Cuomo’s US$1 billion NY-Sun Initiative, launched in 2014, which aimed to consolidate the state’s existing solar incentive programmes into a single support scheme and add 3GW of solar generation capacity by 2023.
Since 2011, the largest percentage increase of solar capacity was in the North Country, the Finger Lakes, Central New York and New York City. Only Long island, which already has more installations than any other New York region, did not see a tripling or more of its capacity.
As of May 2015, there are more than 304MW of contracted PV in the state, with an additional 66MW of applications accepted, but not yet contracted.
There are also more than 538 solar companies working in New York, employing more than 7,000 people, according to SEIA.
Cuomo said: “Through the US$1 billion NY-Sun Initiative, we’re making solar a reality in virtually every corner of the state and building a brighter future today. I am proud to see New York pulling well ahead of the national average for the growing solar industry.”
Richard Kauffman, chairman of Energy and Finance for New York, said: “Reforming the Energy Vision is already working to increase access for more and more New Yorkers to realise the benefits of local, clean energy.”
New York’s Energy Vision includes a proposed US$5 billion Clean Energy Fund investment in clean energy programs over the next 10 years.