CRREO releases sixth Discussion Brief: Toward progress in creating a solar Hudson Valley
NEW PALTZ - The Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach (CRREO) at SUNY New Paltz has released its sixth Discussion Brief, A Solar Hudson Valley: Toward Further Progress.
A joint project of CRREO and The Solar Energy Consortium, the report surveyed the state of the solar industry in the nation and New York State. Among its findings: although solar manufacturers in the region have made some gains, they require tax incentives now more than ever to help level the playing field with overseas competitors.
Key legislative support for solar included the 2011 Power New York Bill, championed by Ulster County Assembly Member and Energy Committee Chairman Kevin Cahill and the Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo. The new law will go a long way toward spurring demand, the authors argued, since it includes megawatt targets for solar project development in the state. The goals include state support for a fully funded program to install 5,000 megawatts of solar electric (photovoltaic) capacity by 2025 and 2,000 megawatts of solar thermal (hot water heating) capacity by 2020.
As the new year begins, Assembly Bill 5713, the so-called Solar Jobs Bill, will likely be re-visited. The bill would create a Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) program, much like the one that spurred the New Jersey solar market. Successful passage of the bill would provide investment stability through long-term contracts and competitive bidding in open auctions. This could lead to creation of up to 20,000 clean energy jobs, the authors project.
Gerald Benjamin, CRREO Director and Associate Vice President for Regional Engagement, stated, "President Obama reaffirmed the national commitment to clean alternative energy sources in his 2012 state of the union address. Ulster and Dutchess counties lead the state in numbers of households that have installed solar. While this showcases our region’s long support for renewable energy and for innovative technologies, we are at a crossroads. The next three to five years will determine whether solar can truly become a reliable, long-term driver for our economy. Our report has outlined the issues and identified the necessary ingredients for success. We look forward to watching and reporting on the development of this important industry."
The Solar Energy Consortium has worked since 2007 to create a solar manufacturing cluster in New York State. With the support of Congressman Maurice Hinchey, TSEC works closely with 95+ industry partners who form a supply chain that spans raw materials to installations and appliances. TSEC has helped create upwards of 600 manufacturing jobs since its inception.
CRREO was established in 2007 to further engage the university and its people with communities, governments, not-for-profits, and businesses across our region. CRREO conducts and publicizes research on regional topics; creates and directs select institutes focusing on specific topics of regional interest; connects and partners with local governments, not-for-profits, and businesses to initiate reforms and advocate for best practices; contracts to assess the performance of public and not-for-profit agencies and programs; and works to foster intergovernmental collaboration and community engagement.
The CRREO Discussion Brief series focuses on regional issues, in order to inform citizens and decision makers of key public policy choices and issues in our region. Previous Discussion Briefs and more information about CRREO may be found at www.newpaltz.edu/crreo.
Located in the heart of a dynamic college town, 90 minutes from metropolitan New York City, the State University of New York at New Paltz is a highly selective college of about 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
One of the most well-regarded public colleges in the nation, New Paltz delivers an extraordinary number of majors in Business, Liberal Arts, Sciences, Engineering, Fine and Performing Arts and Education.
New Paltz embraces its culture as a community where talented and independent minded people from around the world create close personal links with real scholars and artists who love to teach.