New York ranked 9th nationwide for total solar power capacity and 15th for per capita solar generation through 2014, according to a new report by Environment New York Research & Policy Center.
Lighting the Way III: The Top States That Helped Drive America’s Solar Energy Boom in 2014 says that while New York has enough sunshine to meet its annual electricity needs many times over, it’s not its solar potential that has made the difference. Instead, the state has outpaced sunnier locales like Florida because of policies that allow increasing numbers of homeowners, businesses, communities and utilities to “go solar.” With a little bit sunshine and a lot of good clean energy policies on the books, New York State is lighting the way for solar energy.
New York maintains its 9th-place cumulative solar ranking from last year, but, because of its large population, missed the Top 10 for per-capita solar capacity. However, the state did improve slightly, moving up from 16th to 15th in the group’s annual ranking of per-capita solar power.
Of the top 10 states in the report – Hawaii, Arizona, Nevada, California, New Jersey, New Mexico, Vermont, Massachusetts, North Carolina — all have renewable energy requirements, and nine, including NY, have strong laws to allow solar customers to connect to the electricity grid and sell back their excess power. Environment America reports that much of solar’s growth has been due to policies like Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s NY-Sun Initiative, a public-private partnership launched in 2012 to expand the state’s solar energy market and drive down the cost of solar power for New Yorkers.