New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) delivered his state of the state and budget speech today (Jan. 13) calling for more solar power and an end to coal in the state. The state has been making significant progress in boosting the amount of solar power installed in the state and has attracted significant interest from the solar industry, including advanced manufacturing. His push for even more solar in the state was praised by solar advocates.
“New York State has a business and an environmental opportunity. Let’s become the international capital for clean and green energy products. We have already attracted some of the largest solar manufacturers on the planet to New York State,” Cuomo stated in the address. Indeed, SolarCity is developing its gigafactory for manufacturing solar panels in the state. It would be the largest PV manufacturing plant in the U.S. when completed.
Those and other remarks were praised by solar advocates. “Under Gov. Cuomo’s leadership, solar capacity in New York has grown by over 200 percent and the state has launched key policies—such as the 50 percent renewable energy mandate—that attract investment, while improving the state’s environment at the same time,” said Rick Umoff, director of State Affairs for the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
Cuomo added: “We’ve already attracted some of the biggest research and development firms on the planet to New York. I now propose a $15 million Clean Energy Opportunity Training Program so SUNY and our community colleges can train the workers with solar technology and installation.”
“I believe this is the economy of tomorrow and while we’re developing the business plan, we can also employ it in the state of New York,” Cuomo said. He said he wanted to install solar power on over 150,000 homes and businesses as well as convert SUNY facilities to renewable energy by 2020. “We can do it and we should.”
“Once again, Governor Cuomo is leading by example, and we applaud both his efforts and his long-term vision for New York,” Umoff said. “Today’s pledge to expand the state’s solar training program and convert 150,000 homes and businesses to solar by 2020 will bring needed jobs and clean, affordable energy to even more Americans.”
Vote Solar also praised the remarks. “New York is leading the nation to a sunny future, and the Empire State is reaping the benefits," said Vote Solar northeast regional manager, Sean Garren. "The commitments today to installing solar on 150,000 homes and businesses, training 10,000 students for clean energy jobs, and powering the state's leading state university system with clean energy.”
The solar goals will help the state meet its renewable energy requirements—50 percent by 2030. “This year it’s no longer a goal – it is now a requirement. And it makes New York the nation’s leader in the fight against climate change and that’s something we should all be proud of,” he said. To make that goal a reality he also called on the state to eliminate the use of coal in New York State by 2020. “We will help the few remaining coal plants transition but we must clean our air and protect our health and that must be our first priority.”Tweet