A few weeks ago, I attended the CNY Solar Summit in East Syracuse. The event attracted state and local policy-makers, government officials, industry and community leaders, business owners, installers, homeowners, and curious New Yorkers from every walk of life. The excitement throughout the day was palpable. With good reason. Solar energy in New York is poised to explode. The NY-Sun initiative, launched in 2012, has created one of the greatest solar market opportunities in the country. The response has been impressive. Over the past two years, solar energy in New York grew by 316 megawatts—enough to power about 32,000 homes—eclipsing all installations from the previous decade combined. Large manufacturers are also taking notice. Last month, SolarCity, one of the leading solar companies in the world, announced plans to build a 1.2 million square-foot ‘Gigafactory’ in Buffalo. Not only will this create thousands of new jobs but the manufacturing plant will turn out solar PV arrays at an attractive price using low-cost, carbon-free hydroelectricity from Niagara Falls.
Solar energy is already in our backyard. You may remember that in 2012 and 2013 we initiated the Solarize Madison project. By streamlining the installation process and through volume purchasing, we were able to reduce the cost of residential solar installations. This first-of-a-kind project in New York resulted in over 40 solar installations on Madison County homes including the solar thermal installation on Creative Arts House (100 Broad Street). The program is now being replicated in over a dozen other New York communities including Syracuse.
While Madison County’s solarize program has concluded, solar energy in New York is just getting started. The NY-Sun initiative provides a convenient website to explore your options. I often talk with local homeowners who are waiting on the sidelines for the technology to improve or for costs to come down. My advice is to explore the option now—while the incentives are right and the cost is low. If you determine that it makes sense for you now, then get in the game!
You can start the process by contacting a certified installer through the NY-Sun program for residents and small businesses. The installer will work directly with you to evaluate your options and right-size your system. The installer will also assist with all NY-Sun and NYSERDA paperwork, including financing options.
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For general information on solar energy, check out Solar Action Alliance’s website.