New York experiences explosive solar growth in first quarter of 2015



New York’s aggressive efforts to expand its clean energy economy are continuing to produce impressive results, with the state ranking third in the nation in new solar capacity during the first quarter of 2015. New York trailed only California and Nevada in Q1, according to the recently released U.S. Solar Market Insight Report compiled by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

Powered by a booming residential market, New York added 59 megawatts (MW) of new solar capacity in Q1, bringing its statewide total to 456 MW – enough to power nearly 80,000 homes. Most impressively, the 59 MW added in the first quarter represents a significant 176 percent increase over the same quarter last year.

The report went on to point out that New York had increases in Q1 across all solar sectors, but the residential and commercial markets showed the biggest jumps, with installed system prices dropping 12 percent in the last year – and down nearly 50 percent since 2010. All totaled, $186 million was invested in New York in the first quarter in new solar installations – and $638 million since the beginning of 2014.

“Because of the strong demand for solar energy, thousands of new, good-paying jobs have been added in New York, benefitting the state’s economy and environment,” said SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch. “To put New York’s remarkable progress in some context, the 456 MW of solar installed in the state today is more than the entire country had in 2007. But for this growth to continue, stable and effective public policies, such as the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) and Net Energy Metering (NEM), need to be extended – and, in some cases, even expanded. The resulting benefits to New York’s economy and environment are indisputable.”

Today, there are 545 solar companies at work throughout the value chain in New York, employing nearly 7,300 people, representing manufacturers, contractors, project developers, distributors and installers. From an environmental perspective, solar installations in New York are helping to offset 371,000 metric tons of harmful carbon emissions, which is the equivalent of removing more than 78,000 cars off state roads and highways, or not consuming 42 million gallons of gasoline.