New York solar grows 795% in five years (with charts)

It’s been said that if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere. If that’s true, then solar has made it, with a flare typically seen only in the bright lights of Broadway.

After letting its neighbor New Jersey steal the solar spotlight from it for years, New York is now back in the game in a significant way, growing 795% in the past five years, according to figures released by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office.

But that’s not all: The growth of the solar industry has also attracted nearly $1.5 billion in private investment, spurring growth in seven regions of the state of more than 1,000%.

Cuomo has repeated made it clear that growing the state’s solar industry is vital to reaching his Clean-Energy-Standard goal of supplying 50% of the state’s electricity from renewables by 2030.

“The tremendous growth of the solar industry across this state demonstrate its increased accessibility and affordability for residents and businesses,” Cuomo said. “Our investments in this clean energy resource create jobs, reduce carbon emissions, support economic growth, and help build a cleaner, greener New York for all.”

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Support from various groups spurred the remarkable growth. Cuomo singled out the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the New York Power Authority, the Long Island Power Authority and other private and public sector actors as the most important contributors to the growth.

There were 64,926 projects were installed through the end of 2016, compared with 8,989 through the end of 2011. State-supported projects total accounted for 744 MW of the increase, which would power more than 121,000 average homes.

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The largest percentage increase in solar power was in the Mohawk Valley, followed by the Finger Lakes Region, Central New York and the Southern Tier. Long Island has more installations than any other region of the state, followed by the Mid-Hudson Valley and Capital Region.

In 2014, Governor Cuomo committed early $1 billion to NY-Sun to build the state’s solar market over 10 years.