Many cities and states in the United States are switching to renewable energy to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. New York State is moving towards solar power and has 11 large-scale renewable energy projects totalling nearly 1.8 gigawatts that have been approved since 2021.
New York is probably not your first thought when you think of sunny states. New York receives less sunlight than much of the country. And yet, New York is one of the leaders in residential solar adoption. The reason is that the state has some of the highest electricity prices and the best solar incentives. For the average New Yorker, switching to solar power is cheaper than grid electricity.
Earlier this year, the ORES announced siting permits for 309 megawatts of new solar power, which would deliver enough clean energy to power over 69 000 homes in the state for at least 20 years. The 90 MW Home Solar Energy Centre is located in Cortland County. A 119 MW project called Tracy Solar will be built in Jefferson County, and a 100 MW solar project called Riverside Solar will be built in Jefferson County. These new additions mark the state’s most rapid pace of renewable energy project approvals.
These solar power projects will bring $458 million in capital investment and create 460 long-term and short-term jobs in construction, development and facility operations and maintenance in these areas. Moreover, the three new projects alone will provide approximately $20 million in the first 20 years in tax credits for host counties, towns, and school districts participating in the projects. Once the solar power centres are operational, they will add 542 000 megawatts of new renewable capacity annually, reducing carbon emissions by more than 356 000 metric tons annually. This is the equivalent of taking more than 76 000 cars off the road every year. With these new projects, almost 18% of New York State will be powered by solar power.
In addition to the various options of tax credits the state offers, New York is also known for its net metering. This policy allows you to earn credits when you put your excess solar production back into the grid during the day. The credits can offset the cost of using grid electricity when the solar panels are not producing electricity, such as at night or in winter. Solar panels will also increase property value in New York.
Despite not being the sunniest state, New York is making significant efforts to move away from grid electricity and transition to renewable, solar power. They are very quickly increasing the number of solar energy centres and increasing solar energy accessibility for New Yorkers. If New York can make solar power the popular choice for energy, then any state, city and country should be able to follow their example.