New York Governor Cuomo announced last week that the NY-Sun Initiative, a public-private partnership launched last year to spur growth in solar energy, will provide an additional $30 million to stimulate more large solar and biogas projects in the New York City area. The move follows a successful 1.56-MW rooftop solar project in the Bronx.
The expansion of the NY-Sun initiative, which has committed $800 million to solar energy through 2015, provides further example of New York’s leadership role in solar energy in the northeast. New York has some impressive smart power projects under its belt, including the 32-MW solar farm at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Long Island, the state’s largest solar installation.
Also in the same area, the Long Island Power Authority’s CLEAN Solar Initiative initiated the state’s first feed-in tariff program, which has plans to purchase up to 50 MW of customer-generated solar energy.
Another major development is solar energy provider SunEdison’s plans to turn a landfill in Staten Island into New York City’s largest solar power installation. The 10-MW project in Freshkills Park, which is scheduled to begin construction in late 2015, will increase the city’s solar energy output by 50%.
Just as important as construction, however, are smart energy policies that encourage growth in the solar energy industry, and here, too, New York is a clear leader. The state has recently streamlined permitting processes and launched training programs for city planners and code officials. It is also testing new business models that will lower solar photovoltaic (PV) costs and investigating new financing options for solar customers, among others.
New York’s innovation in solar energy is setting a great example for other states to follow.