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New York’s new governor sets huge solar goal during Climate Week 2021

Written by: Leonard Parker | Solar News | 20th September

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation

On the first day of Climate Week 2021, Governor Kathy Hochul today announced a call for the expansion of the highly successful NY-Sun program to achieve an expanded goal of at least 10 GW of distributed solar installed by 2030. Expanding the program is expected to help bolster the state’s economic recovery following COVID-19 with the creation of an additional 6,000 solar jobs beyond the 12,000 that now exist across the state, a portion of which will be ongoing operations and maintenance jobs which will remain throughout the 25+ year project lifespans. The program expansion will also deliver at least 35% of the benefits from the investments to disadvantaged communities and low-to moderate- income New Yorkers. Increasing solar energy capacity statewide will rapidly accelerate progress to exceed New York’s nation-leading Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goal for 70% of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030 on the path to a zero-emission grid.

“New York State must be more aggressive in setting the bar higher in recognition of the reality of climate change and the closing window of time to stop the worst impacts nationally and globally,” Governor Hochul said. “With this expansion, we are demonstrating New York State’s commitment to increasing the amount of renewable energy flowing to the electric grid as well as creating more jobs in the solar industry in support of our growing clean energy economy. Climate change is a public health issue — we need to fight with everything we’ve got in order to ensure generations to come will be able to thrive on a healthy, efficient planet.”

Today, Governor Hochul called upon the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and New York State Department of Public Service to develop a distributed solar roadmap to be issued this fall to chart a path to advance an expanded NY-Sun goal of at least 10 GW by 2030 in a resilient, cost-effective and responsible manner. The projects resulting from the expanded goal are expected to power nearly 1.7 million homes and will be advanced comprehensively — including serving those in disadvantaged communities.

The Roadmap will ensure these projects are developed and sited in a manner that fully considers land use and are advanced in close collaboration with local stakeholders and agricultural communities. Once the Roadmap is filed with the Public Service Commission, it will be issued for public comment and subsequent decision-making in early 2022.

“Governor Hochul’s directive to expand the NY-Sun goal sends a clear signal that New York State is committed to continuing to grow its thriving solar industry, in recognition of the critical role that solar energy plays in meeting the State’s climate and clean energy goals. We expect 2021 to be New York’s largest year yet for distributed solar installations and stand ready to develop and implement the roadmap that will chart our course for the years ahead to ensure an expanded, resilient and thoughtful approach inclusive of all New Yorkers,” said Doreen M. Harris, president and CEO and Climate Action Council Co-Chair of NYSERDA.

Currently, installed distributed solar projects, combined with the projects that are under development, bring the State to 95% of the current Climate Act goal to install 6 GW of solar by 2025. In 2020, New York was ranked first in the nation in Community Solar installations and second for total installations. There are currently over 114,000 NY-Sun supported projects and nearly 6,000 in the NY-Sun pipeline, which are complemented by 73 New York State-supported utility-scale solar projects under development throughout the state  together, these projects will deliver enough electricity to power more than 2.2 million homes once completed.

During her Climate Week 2021 address, Gov. Hochul also announced two new transmission line proposals that would bring renewable energy from Upstate New York and Canada to the rest of the state.

News item from Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office