The Solar Industry Development and Jobs Act
Solar energy holds the promise of vastly reducing greenhouse gas emissions, creating good jobs and reducing our dependence on imported fossil fuels. But New York lags far behind other states -- including neighboring New Jersey -- in the amount of solar energy that is actually installed in our state.
Right now, solar energy accounts for less than 0.02% of New York's electricity -- meaning that instead of attracting investment, New York has diverted capital and clean energy jobs to neighboring states with smarter energy policies.
The New York Solar Industry Development and Jobs Act of 2011 will dramatically change that situation, and that's why NYLCV is making its passage one of our top priorities for the 2011 legislative session.
This legislation also represents a vital step in Gov. Andrew Cuomo's campaign to help New York transition to cleaner, more sustainable energy while also promoting economic growth.
HOW DOES THE BILL WORK?
The New York Solar Industry Development and Jobs Act sets a goal of developing over 5,000 megawatts of solar power capacity in New York by 2025. It requires that each New York retail electric supplier gradually increase the amount of solar energy produced until they reach at least 2.5 percent of their sales by 2025. The mechanics of the program come from best practices and lessons learned from successful solar programs in other states.
HOW WILL IT HELP NEW YORK'S ECONOMY?
The New York Solar Jobs and Development Act is projected- -- conservatively -- to produce 22,198 direct and induced jobs, not including potential manufacturing jobs and other indirectly induced jobs. These local employment opportunities range across a broad spectrum of salary levels, skill and education requirements, and employment fields.
Moreover, New York would benefit from some $20 billion in economic activity. This legislation holds serious advantages over the current energy policy, which sends tax dollars out of state to bring in (environmentally-degrading) coal energy from around the country.
WHAT ARE THE ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS?
Having 5,000 megawatts of clean energy installed will vastly improve the quality of New York's air and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It would generate enough to clean power 1 million New York homes or 50,000 schools.
Over 65 percent of New Yorkers live in counties where air pollution endangers lives. Taking 5,000 megawatts of harmful, fossil fuel-derived energy and replacing it with clean solar energy is equivalent to taking 2,697,326 cars off the road in New York alone!
New York has the resources and infrastructure to become a national and even an international leader in the emerging global energy economy. To that end, the importance of this bill cannot be overstated. With the New York Solar Industry Development and Jobs Act, New York State can create thousands of jobs while at the same time establishing itself as a global model for clean and efficient energy.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
In the coming weeks and months, NYLCV will bring you updates on the status of the bill and its many, many benefits for New York and our future. You can also visit the NYLCV Education Fund to get more information about clean energy.
We are also asking that you contacting your elected officials, letting them know that the New York Solar Jobs and Development Act must pass in 2011.
Stay tuned to www.nylcv.org as this exciting initiative moves ahead!
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