Advocates Urge Lawmakers to Pass Million Solar Strong Legislation, Act on Climate
Gov. Cuomo’s ambitious goal to develop 6 gigawatts (GW) of solar energy in New York by 2025 would not just benefit the environment but would create more than 11,000 new jobs and generate billions of dollars in economic benefits for the state and local governments, a new report from the non-profit organization Vote Solar reveals.
“New York’s policies have helped build a strong local solar workforce and make the Empire State a leader in our nation’s clean energy transition, but our climate crisis demands more. This report shows that New York can make meaningful climate progress at the same time that it’s creating good jobs and spurring investment in more resilient communities with an ambitious solar plan,” said Sean Garren, Vote Solar’s senior northeast director and report co-author. “Now is the time for New York lawmakers to pass the Governor’s bold goal of enough solar to power a million homes, 6 gigawatts, into law and establish a strong policy roadmap that ensures low-income New Yorkers have the opportunity to participate and benefit.”
“New York State’s energy future is dependent upon the development of solar energy if we are to address climate change and become energy independent,” said Senator Kevin Parker, Chair of the Senate Energy Committee. “As highlighted in Vote Solar’s report, solar energy development also holds the promise for increased economic activity – from jobs to purchasing of materials to tax revenue – which will further benefit all New Yorkers.”
New York already has 1.425 gigawatts of solar installed, meaning another 4.575 GW of solar is needed to reach the governor’s goal of 6 GW by 2025.
The report found that meeting the 6 GW goal, which is enough reliable solar energy to power one million homes, would mean:
- A 116% increase in solar jobs that includes 11,253 sustained full-time jobs during the construction and additional employment opportunities during operations and maintenance over the life of the projects.
- $5.7 billion in earnings for those employed, with an average of $41 an hour for those employed for on-site construction activities.
- $10.9 billion in local economic benefits for the state
- $32 million in property tax revenues during the first year of system operation of all projects that can be used to help finance local governments and public schools.
- $664 million a year of economic benefit during the 25-year minimum life of the solar projects
“It’s so exciting when what we want to do for the environment also helps New Yorkers start careers in clean energy,” said Anne Reynolds, Executive Director of Alliance for Clean Energy New York. “Vote Solar’s report, “Million Solar Strong New York” shows the potential for employment and other positive impacts that reaching the Governor’s goals of 6 gigawatts of solar energy can provide for New Yorkers.”
"Solar energy has emerged as an important economic engine for New York. The New York solar workforce is now almost 10,000 strong, and 80 percent of New York's solar capacity was installed in the past five years.
As Vote Solar's report shows, realizing Governor Cuomo's 6 GW goal would more than double our state's solar jobs count and bring substantial economic benefits to New York in terms of employee, corporate and state tax revenues.
Codifying the 6 gigawatt goal in the Legislature would provide the necessary visibility and security that businesses need in order to continue investing in New York and place New York as a national leader in addressing climate change," said Shyam Mehta, Executive Director of New York Solar Energy Industries Association (NYSEIA).
The Vote Solar report is being released the same day the state Legislature will hold its final hearing on the proposed Community and Climate Protection Act. The Assembly hearing will take place on Friday at New York City Hall.
Vote Solar has been actively working to push lawmakers to include Gov. Cuomo’s 6 GW solar goal in any final climate bill, believing it will carry more weight and have a broader authority within the Administration with the force of law behind it.
“Achieving 6 GW by 2025 would not only underscore New York’s place as a clean energy leader but also help over a million households directly benefit from solar,” the report says.
“Policymakers in New York cannot ignore the $10.9 billion dollars that a 6 GW by 2025 renewable energy target could bring to the state’s economy. The economic benefits are driven by private investment, on-site labor, increased demand for professional services and supporting industries, as well as benefits from reinvestment in the state’s economy,” the report added.
Vote Solar used the Jobs and Economic Impact (JEDI) Model developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), a federal government institution, to reasonably estimate the employment, earnings and economic impacts from the construction and operation of the solar energy facilities that could be expected if New York adopts this ambitious, yet achievable, target.
About Vote Solar: Since 2002, Vote Solar has been working to lower solar costs and expand solar access. A 501(c)3 non-profit organization, Vote Solar advocates for state policies and programs needed to repower our electric grid with clean energy. Learn more at www.votesolar.org