We have encouraging news from the road to a world class solar program in New York. The State Energy Planning (SEP) Board has been holding hearings to determine our energy future. Vote Solar has been advocating for 2,000 megawatts of solar electricity as part of the mix, and we’re happy to report that the message is getting through loud and clear. Want to help us crank up the volume?
That’s exactly what we need to get New York’s solar market on track. All it would take is an order from the utility regulators at New York’s Public Service Commission. They open a docket, the public comments, we get our 2,000 MW program. Badda bing, badda boom.How much would that solar program cost, your recession-era brain might ask. The answer: an easy 82 cents a month on the average residential energy bill.Over the course of a year, that’s the equivalent of:
+ Three grande lattes
+ Eating out for lunch. Once
+ One round of happy hour drinks for two of your buddies
Any way you slice it, a worthwhile investment in a new green economy – although Vote Solar strongly recommends you give up one of the first two before the third.
Another excellent question, most recently asked by Deputy Energy Secretary Tom Congdon at the Albany hearing where we offered testimony: So how would we implement such a program? Glad you asked Mr. Secretary. We have a few ideas (read our full submissions here, here, and here). Or perhaps you’d prefer the CliffsNotes version:
1. We need a diverse marketplace with room for lots of participants. That means solar lowering your home energy bills, lighting up Times Square, and providing much-needed peak power to ConEdison’s grid. Let’s design incentives and policies that support residential, commercial and wholesale solar – a healthy mix that encourages a stronger industry and more competition to bring low-cost solar into the mainstream.
2. We need stable funding levels. New York’s existing solar program has been plagued by “boom and bust” cycles as limited incentive funds are authorized and spent down. That irregular support is not the way to grow a strong new market. Let’s dedicate some real resources in a transparent program that businesses and consumers can plan around.
3. We need annual ramp ups to avoid a cliff when 2020 rolls around. Our traditional dirty energy mix is one big ship to turn – it’s going to take some time and effort. Let’s set our new solar market up for success by establishing achievable yearly goals along the path to 2,000 MW.
We think that’s the kind of solar market New York deserves. We hope you do to because we can’t do it without you.