Governor David A. Paterson today announced that $15 million in Federal stimulus funding has been allocated to the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) for residential and large-scale solar energy projects. The funding will assist LIPA in satisfying the significant demand it has experienced in its solar programs. An average solar installation saves homeowners approximately $1,650 per year on their electricity bill. The additional funding announced today provides rebates for approximately 600 homes.
"The Long Island Power Authority has seen incredible demand in its solar rebate programs – demand that has, in fact, outstripped dedicated funding resources. With this additional funding, LIPA can now continue to fund projects that help to promote a sustainable future for Long Island and New York while providing much-needed stimulus to the State's economy," Governor Paterson said. "Thanks to the leadership of the Obama Administration and New York's Congressional Delegation, these funds will help boost New York's economy while strengthening our energy independence."
Awarded through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), $8.3 million in funding will support LIPA's Solar Pioneer program, which offers rebates to homeowners who install new residential grid-connected solar electric systems. In addition, $6.7 million in funding will allow LIPA to connect to the electric grid solar panels installed on carports at railroad station parking lots and other facilities owned by Suffolk County. These panels are expected to deliver up to 17 megawatts (MW) of electricity.
Last month, due to increased demand which outpaced LIPA's budget, LIPA was forced to suspend the popular Solar Pioneer program. At the request of LIPA, several solar installers and elected officials including Assemblyman Marc Alessi, Governor Paterson worked with NYSERDA and LIPA to petition the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to approve an amendment to the State's spending plan for clean energy stimulus funds. In the original plan, $15 million was dedicated to large-scale solar on Long Island. The amendment allows $8.3 million to support residential solar and $6.7 million will continue supporting large-scale systems. The DOE has now approved the amendment, allowing LIPA to re-open the Solar Pioneer program on December 1.
Since their inception in 2000, LIPA's solar programs have helped transform the market and provided rebates for 3,498 solar installations totaling approximately 20 MW. The solar industry on Long Island has grown from just two part-time solar installers to more than 50 full-time solar companies employing about 300 men and women on Long Island.
LIPA Chief Operating Officer Michael Hervey said: "I would like to thank Governor Paterson, our partners at the State and Federal levels and NYSERDA for securing additional funds to support LIPA's nationally recognized Solar Pioneer Program. These funds will allow LIPA to re-open its solar rebate program and serve as supplemental funds to support LIPA's continued investment in solar energy thereby helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, helping customers to lower their bills, and stimulating the economy through the creation of new clean energy jobs."
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority President and CEO Francis J. Murray said: "These Federal resources will continue to bolster New York's solar industry and help make New York a leader in renewable energy installations. I applaud our Federal delegation for securing the funding to support a program that will improve New York's energy security, help realize the Governor's clean energy agenda to create jobs, and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions."
LIPA's solar programs are an important component of Governor Paterson's '45 by 15' initiative to meet 45 percent of the State's electricity demand through energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy by 2015. According to Governor Paterson's Climate Action Council, which issued an Interim Report earlier this month identifying strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050, the State over time will need to significantly increase deployment of solar technologies to address climate change.###
The following statements were provided in support of Federal stimulus funding for residential and large-scale solar energy projects through LIPA:
Senator Charles E. Schumer said: "By making solar power more affordable, this funding will help homeowners reduce their electricity costs, create jobs, and put Long Island at the forefront of the clean-energy economy. I'm proud to have worked with Governor Paterson to secure this funding for LIPA, which will make solar power a viable, cost-effective energy alternative for Long Island residents."
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said: "Developing new, clean, homegrown sources of energy is a vital part of our economic recovery. These federal dollars will make solar panel installation more accessible and affordable for Long Island families – helping our economic recovery and cutting energy costs, while protecting the air we breathe and the water we drink."
Congressman Gary Ackerman said: "These critical funds will go a long way towards strengthening Long Island's energy independence, boosting our economy and creating a cleaner environment. Long Island and the Greater New York metropolitan area continue to reap the benefits of the stimulus package so that we can continue to move forward during these challenging economic times."a
Congressman Tim Bishop said: "I applaud the allocation of $15 million in federal recovery funds to support green job creation and smart investments in a more energy-efficient Long Island. Ramping up solar power in our communities will lower energy costs for homeowners and bolster our clean-energy economy."
Congressman Steve Israel said: "If we are going to end our dependence on foreign oil once and for all, we need to make a commitment to using alternative energy technologies. LIPA and New York generally should be at the forefront of that effort. This funding will help Long Island families upgrade their energy sources, cutting their electric bills and helping provide more affordable renewable energy for our community."
Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy said: "Finding and improving new energy sources and creating green jobs are vital to Long Island and our nation's economy, environment and national security. This federal funding, which will be used for residential and large scale solar energy projects, will allow LIPA to meet the demand for solar rebate programs, while encouraging a more sustainable future and stimulating the local economy."
Assemblyman Marc Alessi said: "I applaud Governor Paterson for answering my call to seek the necessary funding to replenish the Solar Pioneer Program by working with the Obama Administration and the New York State Congressional delegation. It is a sigh of relief that we have secured the proper funding to ensure that this program continues to operate. Solar power has once again proven to be a product that is in high demand. I am extremely pleased that this model program will continue to provide sustainable energy while also continuing to create jobs right here on Long Island. We must continue to invest in our future energy needs through programs like the Solar Pioneer Program."
Kevin Law, President and CEO of the Long Island Association, said: "I commend Governor Paterson for assisting LIPA and NYSERDA to access this federal funding that will keep Long Island's solar industry thriving. These are shovel ready projects that will protect the environment and strengthen the clean energy workforce."
Gail Markel, Executive Director of New York Solar Energy Industries Association (NYSEIA), said: "NYSEIA is grateful for the leadership provided by Governor Paterson and Assemblyman Alessi in supporting and encouraging the use of solar energy on Long Island."
Sail Van Nostrand, Chair of the Long Island Solar Energy Industries Association (LISEIA), said: "LISEIA wants to extend a special thank you to Governor Paterson for pushing to have these funds introduced into the Long Island market's solar initiative. Governor Paterson and forward thinkers like Assemblyman Alessi understand the need and benefits of moving Long Island to a renewable, solar energy society. We are also pleased to congratulate LIPA in their tireless approach to finding funding to accelerate the deployment of more solar on Long Island. LIPA's commitment in stimulating a transformation from fossil based energy to renewable energies has moved solar into the mainstream consciousness of many Long Islanders. The solar industry on Long Island is roughly an $80 million economic engine that frankly didn't exist a few short years ago. New jobs and transformed jobs are the direct result of a growing renewable energy economy and will add significantly to our region's economic recovery."
Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, said: "This is a terrific way for Long Islanders to benefit from federal stimulus funds. These funds will not only bring us increased solar power which means reduced burning of fossil fuels from local power plants but also increased green jobs in manufacturing and installation of solar units. The public has enthusiastically embraced the LIPA solar program and these funds are a wonderful holiday gift of clean energy and green jobs for Long Island, that will surely 'light up' our holiday season."###