Leading Environmental, Consumer and Industry Groups Urge Governor to Stand-Up to Trump and Make New York a Million Solar Strong
ALBANY, NY – June 6, 2018 – A new and diverse coalition is calling on Governor Cuomo to stand-up to the Trump Administration by setting a bold new goal of powering one million New York households with solar, including one hundred thousand low-income families, by 2023, doubling the existing NY-Sun goal. The Trump Administration’s reckless actions on climate, the environment, and energy require an equally bold response from New York. Making New York ‘One Million Solar Strong’ is the most important thing Governor Cuomo can do to protect and strengthen New York’s significant progress on solar. Currently, New York has over 200,000 households powered by solar and 9,000 workers in the fast growing solar industry. Powering one million New York households with solar will generate jobs, reduce and stabilize utility bills, stimulate local investment, cut harmful air pollution, accelerate an equitable transition to our clean energy future, and counter the Trump Administration’s attacks.
The coalition is calling on Governor Cuomo to institute and support concrete policies to reach the one million solar strong goal. The coalition released two roadmaps outlining robust policy recommendations to achieve the goal of one million households and one hundred thousand low-income households powered by solar, including:
Fair customer compensation
Drive accelerated and diverse solar growth
Facilitate affordable financing for solar growth, especially for new market sectors and underserved communities
Make solar a win-win for municipalities and customers
Ensure the modern grid and solar serve each other
Expand access for low-income, environmental justice, and other underserved communities
“New Yorkers know better than most the toll that climate change has already taken on our economy, our infrastructure, and on the well-being of our communities. They also know that we can’t afford to drag our feet on bold, meaningful changes to the way we power our cities and neighborhoods,” said Sean Garren, Northeast Senior Director at Vote Solar. “The good news is that clean energy solutions are right in front of us, and that solar energy is affordable, reliable, and more popular than ever among voters across party lines. We’re calling on Governor Cuomo to seize the opportunity to become the first state in the nation with one million solar-powered constituents.”
“The sun is already powering hundreds of thousands of homes and putting thousands of people to work in New York—the state should continue to lead the way. In the face of unprecedented attacks on public health and the environment at the federal level, New York needs to fill the gap by accelerating and expanding our transition to a clean energy future. More solar will mean even more jobs, more reliable energy and a more secure future for all New Yorkers,” said Richard Schrader, Legislative Director for New York at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Anne Reynolds, Executive Director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York stated, “The Million Solar Strong Campaign recognizes that installing more solar is a key ingredient to New York’s successful achievement of the 50% renewable energy goal. Now, 12,000 New Yorkers make their living in the solar industry, and setting a new bold goal for solar will grow that number and attract even more private investment in our State.”
“We see equitable renewable energy development as a critical component of addressing historic and persistent disproportionate burdens for environmental justice communities as well as expanding access to the full suite of economic and social benefits clean, stable, affordable energy offers,” said Shiva Prakash, Staff Attorney and Equal Justice Works Fellow at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. “The Million Solar Strong campaign will push New York to broaden access and meaningful participation in solar projects to realize these important and necessary goals.”
“Just two years ago, we celebrated a million solar installations nationwide, and now we are delighted to support the Million Solar Strong campaign in New York,” said David Gahl, director of state affairs Northeast for the Solar Energy Industries Association. “Setting the goal of having one million solar households by 2023 will drive investment in solar, create more solar jobs, and help customers across New York State save money on their electric bills. We look forward to working with the Cuomo Administration to reach these goals.”
Cullen Howe, New York Director of Acadia Center said, “Acadia Center is proud to support the campaign for a Million Solar Strong New York by calling on Governor Cuomo to commit to powering one million homes with solar by 2023. Rooftop solar provides emissions-free renewable energy that advances energy independence and reduces the need for utilities to build new transmission and distribution infrastructure. Given the absence of leadership on this issue at the federal level, New York needs to undertake bold action to reach its clean energy and carbon reduction goals. This campaign lays out a pathway to do so.”
“Solar is delivering cost savings and cleaner air for New York homeowners and businesses, driving billions of dollars of private investment in new 21st-century infrastructure in our state, and employing thousands of workers from Buffalo to the Bronx,” said Anna Noucas, New York Solar Energy Industries Association (NYSEIA) President. “NYSEIA applauds the clean energy leadership shown by the Cuomo administration to date, and urges the state to double down on its solar energy commitment to bring more jobs and investment to the Empire State.”
“We support the Million Solar Strong New York Initiative because solar energy is technically capable, economically beneficial, environmentally responsible, and, done right, socially just,” said Pace Energy and Climate Center’s Executive Director, Karl Rábago. “Not only do we call on the administration to set this bold commitment; we stand ready to provide support in realizing its potential.”
“Community solar is the only option for those New York homeowners, businesses, and organizations who rent or otherwise can’t put solar on their roofs”, said Brandon Smithwood, Policy Director for the Coalition for Community Solar Access. “Currently there are enough community solar projects underway in New York to allow tens of thousands of residents across the state to participate in community solar and save money on their electric bills. However, in order to increase solar access to hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers and maintain the Empire State’s leadership in the clean energy economy, we need a clear and predictable policy landscape that, among other things, fairly compensates customers and ensures that projects are available throughout the state.”
“In 2015, we were inspired by Governor Cuomo’s promise to make solar energy available to all New Yorkers, regardless of income or zip code,” said Elizabeth Broad, Outreach Director of New Yorkers for Clean Power. “While we’ve seen some exciting solar growth, we must continue working to make solar affordable and accessible for everyone in our State. We support the ambitious new goals of the Million Solar Strong Coalition and look forward to New York leading the nation on solar power.”
Currently, New York has over 200,000 households powered by solar and 9,000 workers in the fast-growing solar industry. The full Million Solar Strong NY policy roadmap can be found at www.solarstrongny.org.
The Million Solar Strong Coalition is a movement of industry, environmental, clean energy and community organizations united by the vision of a strong clean energy economy that works for all New Yorkers. Visit www.solarstrongny.org to learn more about the campaign calling on Governor Cuomo to adopt a goal of one million solar households by 2023 and to read the policy roadmaps.