Coalition urges Governor Cuomo to set Million Solar Strong goal

The Million Solar Strong coalition, a movement of leading industry, environmental, clean energy and community organizations, has launched a grassroots campaign to urge Governor Cuomo to stand up to the Trump Administration by setting a bold new goal of powering one million New York households with solar. The coalition, announced earlier this month, is calling for Governor Cuomo to support concrete policies to power one million solar households, including 100,000 low-income families, by 2023. The Coalition’s grassroots campaign includes a new website, petition, video and local events.

“It is more important than ever that Governor Cuomo stand up for the climate. The Trump Administration has gone out of its way to undermine solar energy, leaving New York’s environmental and clean energy progress vulnerable to harmful rollbacks,” said Sean Garren, Northeast senior director at Vote Solar. “We commend Governor Cuomo’s recent decision to strengthen the NY-SUN Initiative, and now we call on him to double down on New York’s solar leadership by adopting the ambitious and achievable goal of one million solar homes by 2023.”

“The sun is already powering hundreds of thousands of homes and putting thousands of people to work in New York—the state should continue to lead the way. The Million Solar Strong Campaign means more solar and more solar means even more jobs, more reliable energy and a more secure energy future for all New Yorkers,” said Richard Schrader, legislative director for New York at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “In the face of unprecedented attacks on the environment at the federal level, New York needs to fill the gap by accelerating and expanding our transition to a clean energy future. ”

“The Million Solar Strong Campaign recognizes that rooftop and community solar are are a key ingredient to New York’s achievement of 50% renewable energy by 2030. The more New York can do to grow solar, the more diverse, clean, and resilient our electricity system will become.” said Anne Reynolds, executive director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York.

“Just two years ago, we celebrated a million solar installations nationwide, and now we are delighted to support the Million Solar Strong campaign in New York,” said David Gahl, director of state affairs Northeast for the Solar Energy Industries Association. “Setting the goal of having one million solar households by 2023 will drive investment in solar, create more solar jobs, and help customers across New York State save money on their electric bills. We look forward to working with the Cuomo Administration to reach these goals.”

“Given the absence of leadership on this issue at the federal level, New York needs to undertake bold action to reach its clean energy and carbon reduction goals,” said Cullen Howe, New York director of Acadia Center. “The Million Solar Strong campaign lays out a pathway to do so, while at the same time creating good jobs to empower our communities, lowering utility bills for customers, and ensuring access to the benefits of clean energy for communities of color and low-income families.”

“Solar is delivering cost savings and cleaner air for New York homeowners and businesses, driving billions of dollars of private investment in new 21st century infrastructure in our state, and employing thousands of workers from Buffalo to the Bronx,” said Dan Hendrick, NYSEIA president. “NYSEIA applauds the clean energy leadership shown by the Cuomo administration to date, and urges the state to double down on its solar energy commitment to bring more jobs and investment to the Empire State.”

“Pace Energy and Climate Center supports the Million Solar Strong New York Initiative,” said the Center’s Executive Director, Karl R. Rábago. “Solar energy is technically capable, economically beneficial, environmentally responsible, and, done right, socially just. We call on the administration to make the Million Solar Strong commitment, and we stand ready to provide support in reaching this bold initiative.”

“New York is on track to provide solar to tens of thousands of residents through community solar, but that should be the tip of the iceberg,” said Brandon Smithwood, policy director for the Coalition for Community Solar Access. “The state should multiply its efforts to make a real impact on the climate crisis and give millions of New Yorker’s access to the benefits of clean, affordable solar power.”

“In order to address the climate crisis and the crisis of leadership at the federal level, it is imperative that the Cuomo Administration work quickly and aggressively to achieve a flourishing solar market in New York that provides access and affordability for all,” said Elizabeth Broad, outreach director at New Yorkers for Clean Power. “We must fix first VDER to make it fair, simple and predictable, and then ramp up investment to double the goal of NY-Sun, so that one million households in New York are solar powered by 2023.”

New York currently has over 200,000 households powered by solar and 9,000 workers in the fast growing solar industry. The coalition has released two roadmaps outlining robust policy recommendations to achieve the goal of one million households and one hundred thousand low-income households powered by solar, including:

  • Fair customer compensation
  • Drive accelerated and diverse solar growth
  • Facilitate affordable financing for solar growth, especially for new market sectors and underserved communities
  • Make solar a win-win for municipalities and customers
  • Ensure the modern grid and solar serve each other
  • Expand access for low-income, environmental justice and other underserved communities

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