Long Island reaches 35,000 residential solar installations

Editors note: The use of “Long Island” in this report refers to Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Brooklyn and Queens – Kings and Queens Counties – are not included as part of Long Island, but New York City in state designations.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has a a lot to brag about in the arena of clean energy. Not only is his state leading policy efforts to redesign the distribution grid through the REV process, but New York also has one of the most aggressive renewable energy targets in the nation, at 50% by 2030.

In terms of solar deployment, New York was the seventh-largest solar market in 2015, which is more remarkable given that the state is dominated by residential and commercial installations, with very little large-scale solar.

And of all the places where residential solar has thrived in the state, Long Island leads the list. Last week the Cuomo Administration announced that Nassau and Suffolk Counties in Long Island have installed over 35,000 residential PV systems, a more than four-fold growth since 2012 and more than twice as many as the next region.

Governor Cuomo addressed this progress personally. ”Clean energy is our future, and Long Island is leading the state in growing our clean tech economy and achieving our climate change goals,” declared the Governor in a press release.

Long Island completed the fourth of four incentive blocks for residential and small commercial PV systems under the NY-Sun program in April, as the first region to do so, and since then has been installing solar without state incentives. NY-Sun provided incentives for the first 150 MW of installed residential and small commercial PV on Long Island beginning in January 2014.

It is clear that the market has not slowed down in the last five months. As a study by Solar to the People showed that New York has an average residential PV system size of over 8 kW statewide, it is likely that Long Island now has as much as 280 MW of installed residential PV – more than most U.S. states have in all market segments.

Governor Cuomo notes that thanks to these PV installations, Long Island now saves 200,000 tons of carbon emissions annually. However, this may be just the beginning, as the region is not even close to running out of roofs. Nassau and Suffolk Counties have around 1 million households, meaning that only 3.5% are equipped with solar PV.