The New York Assembly Energy Committee today (June 4) passed a “Shared Clean Energy Bill” (A.9931), which would establish a new way for renters and other families, schools and businesses to go solar. Advocates applauded the bill for its visionary goal of enabling more New Yorkers to participate in and benefit from the state’s growing solar economy.
“Today solar is creating thousands of jobs in New York and pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into our economy all while building a cleaner, more resilient energy supply. Yet a majority of our residents and businesses cannot participate in that growing solar marketplace simply because they do not own rooftops that are suitable for solar. This bill would make solar an option for renters and millions of other New Yorkers for the first time, in turn delivering more solar benefits to our state,” said New York State Assemblymember, Energy Committee Chair and bill sponsor Amy Paulin (D-88).
Despite strong solar growth in the state, a majority of New York’s energy consumers – including renters, families and businesses in multi-unit buildings, and homeowners with shaded roofs – are unable to invest in their own rooftop solar energy systems. A.9931would overcome that barrier to solar adoption by allowing energy customers to subscribe to a local renewable energy project elsewhere in their community and receive a utility bill credit for their portion of the energy produced.
“I’ve never been prouder to call myself a New Yorker as leader after leader steps forward on behalf of health and economic opportunity for all. The Shared Renewables Bill is moving forward with strong leadership in and outside Albany, but most importantly, it is moving forward on a road that ALL New Yorkers can walk, with access to stable, clean and affordable solar energy to power their homes and places of business, whether owned or leased. That means moving forward, together – with better health and economic opportunity in communities across the state, from Buffalo to Binghamton to the Bronx and everywhere in between,” said Actor Mark Ruffalo.
“Shared Clean Energy would make solar work for even more of New York. That means more local solar investment, more local solar jobs and healthier, more resilient communities,” said Hannah Masterjohn, New Markets Program Director at Vote Solar. “We thank Assemblymember Paulin for her leadership, and we ask the legislature to pass A.9931 so that more New Yorkers can save with solar.”
“We have four times more solar installed in our state today than we had just two years ago. New Yorkers clearly want more clean, reliable solar energy powering our homes, schools and businesses. A.9931 would connect more New Yorkers with the solar power they want and continue put our state at the forefront of energy development and job growth in our country,“ said Shaun Chapman, President of the New York Solar Energy Industries Association (NYSEIA).
“Solar is delivering tremendous health, environmental and economic benefits to New York, but the traditional panels-on-your-roof approach simply doesn’t work for most of our energy consumers. Families and businesses who rent and plenty of others are left in the dark. It’s time for a more inclusive approach to New York clean energy. We urge lawmakers to pass A.9931 solar can shine for all,” said Aaron Bartley, Executive Director of People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH) Buffalo.
“New York has been a clean energy pioneer. By giving more consumers access to solar power for the first time—from family renters to business owners—this is a clear next step to building on that legacy,” said Jackson Morris, Senior Energy & Climate Analyst, at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
“New York has charted a pioneering path forward on clean energy. Strong existing programs and new initiatives like the ‘Reforming the Energy Vision’ process aim to empower New Yorkers to take climate action into their own hands and repower our state with clean energy. Shared solar, which gives more consumers access to renewable energy, should be part of New York’s clean energy vision,” said David Gahl, Pace Energy and Climate Center’s Director of Strategic Engagement.
Ten other states have shared clean energy programs, including Massachusetts and Vermont, as well as Washington, DC. If passed, A.9931 would build on the success of the NY-Sun Initiative and other clean energy programs. Following its successful passage out of the Assembly Energy Committee, the bill now advances to the Assembly Ways and Means Committee.
New York State is one of our nation’s top 10 solar markets with enough solar installed to power more than 41,700 homes. The state’s growing solar industry employs 5,000 New Yorkers up and down the state, ranking it fifth in the nation for solar jobs. In 2013, $343 million was invested in New York to install solar on homes and businesses, a number that is on track to grow again in 2014.