The New York legislature shut its doors for 2012 without passing the Solar Jobs Act or any long-term solar program. Although the Empire State missed a tremendous opportunity for solar power, we gained a tremendous amount of people power.
We diversified and strengthened our solar coalition, highlighted real solar jobs in communities up and down the state, showed a supermajority of voter support, and partnered with actor Mark Ruffalo to add his star power to the cause. Altogether, tens of thousands of New Yorkers spoke up for solar. The Hulk aside, that’s a lot of muscle.
And Albany heard us. While they didn’t pass big, bold solar policy this year, the legislature did pass important smaller provisions that will make solar more affordable for people in New York City and for people who participate in popular third-party solar financing arrangements all across the state. Specifically, New York’s residential tax credit was broadened to include solar systems that are leased through a third-party. Legislation was also passed to ensure that New York City’s property tax abatement would be extended past the end of 2012. See legislation here and here.
And through it all, Governor Cuomo reaffirmed his commitment to making New York a solar leader—first with his New York Sun Initiative and then his proposal to extend this program out through 2022. The Governor’s proposal to extend the NY Sun program out to 2022 is significant—after three years of calling for a long-term solar program that is certain and scalable (i.e., provides opportunity for growth), this was the first time that the administration had advanced any significant proposal that embodied these tenets.
Though the Solar Jobs Coalition was disappointed that the legislature was not able to get the Governor’s proposal across the finish line, even after they had established general agreement around the framework, the Coalition is confident there will be another bite at the apple.
With New York State falling further behind in the solar energy economy, Vote Solar isn’t stopping. This summer we’ll be building on what we’ve started together here. We want you to continue building with us.