Governor Cuomo Announces More Than 1,000% Growth of Solar Power in New York

05 Feb 2018

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that solar power in New York increased more than 1,000 percent from December 2011 to December 2017, leveraging more than $2.8 billion in private investment into New York's growing clean energy economy. Solar is critical to achieving the Governor's mandate for half of all electricity consumed to come from renewable energy sources by 2030 and cements New York as one of the national leaders in clean energy growth.

"Solar is a vital part of this state's clean energy future and we have experienced unprecedented growth in this new sector," Governor Cuomo said. "We will continue to support the development of solar, helping to spur economic growth, creating new jobs and helping to build a cleaner, greener and more sustainable New York for all."

The announcement was made today by Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul at McKinley High School in Buffalo, where she also lauded what is currently the largest state-supported solar project in a school district in New York State. The 19 solar installations at Buffalo Public Schools total nearly 3 megawatts. Projects are installed and operational at 18 locations with the one remaining solar project expected to be operational in the coming months. In total, the projects are anticipated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 1,700 metric tons annually, the equivalent to removing more than 370 cars from the road.

"Governor Cuomo has committed New York to lead by example in our pursuit of fighting climate change and achieving bold clean energy goals, and this 1,000 percent solar growth milestone is a significant marker of progress," Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said. "I commend the Buffalo Public School System for recognizing the importance of reducing its carbon footprint and for combining education with operation, installing the largest state-supported solar project in New York schools and providing students with the opportunity for hands-on learning in the industry. Investing in solar is part of New York's strategy to boost renewable energy while creating jobs of the future."

The more than 1,000 percent solar growth in the state over the last six years was supported by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority through the $1 billion NY-Sun program, the New York Power Authority, and Long Island Power Authority. 972.2 megawatts (78,323 solar projects) were installed through the end of December 2017, compared with 83 megawatts (8,989 projects) through the end of 2011. The current projects produce enough electricity that would be sufficient to meet the needs of more than 159,000 average homes.

Today's announcement also is another example of how solar is growing across the state into every community, supporting the Governor's 2018 State of the State proposal to expand more solar into communities for low income customers, advancing their participation in the growing clean energy economy and protecting their environments from the harmful effects of climate change.

Richard L. Kauffman, Chairman of Energy and Finance for New York said,"A 1000 percent growth in solar shows how viable and affordable clean energy technologies have become in the State for consumers and public and private entities. Under Governor Cuomo and our nation-leading clean energy initiatives, New York is leading the way in combating climate change bringing in substantial investment from the private sector which has fueled impressive solar growth over the past six years." 

The significant growth of solar power is attributed to a combination of factors, including the NY-Sun Megawatt Block Incentive program and a decline in solar equipment prices and a growing solar installation industry.

Alicia Barton, NYSERDA President and CEO, said, "Today's remarkable milestone of 1000 percent solar growth demonstrates that, under Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York is rapidly marching towards our commitment to meet 50 percent of our statewide electricity needs with renewable energy by 2030. Solar energy is increasingly the first choice for consumers who want to reduce carbon emissions while lowering their energy bills and these projects are creating thousands of good quality jobs all across our state- it's a win for customers, communities, for the environment and our economy."

The largest percentage increase in solar power was in New York City, followed by the Mohawk Valley, Mid-Hudson, Central New York and the Capital Region.

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