New York grants $94 million for solar projects and launches the largest solar factory in the Western Hemisphere

8 October 2014

NEW YORK: The State of New York will grant US$94 million for solar projects that will leverage additional private investment of US$375 million, while also funding US$750 million for the largest solar factory in the Western Hemisphere bringing 5,000 jobs.

The news comes after Governor Andrew Cuomo last week launched 142 new solar projects at businesses and schools in the state, which will bring more than 214 megawatts - a 68% increase in solar capacity since last year.

Earlier in the month, Cuomo also announced the construction in Buffalo of a huge ‘GigaFactory’ - which will manufacture 1 gigawatt solar panels every year for the company SolarCity.

SOLAR PROJECTS

The funding for the solar projects is part of Energy Research and Development Authority’s Competitive PV program, that will allow the construction of solar projects larger than 200 kilowatts in locations over 50 businesses, 41 schools, 36 government facilities and 15 non-profits locations.

From next year, these projects will be incorporated into the NY-Sun Incentive Program, which aims to lower the state’s carbon footprint while promoting a cleaner and healthier environment for citizens by installing solar, in order to stimulate the marketplace and gradually reduce the state’s solar costs and incentives. “New York is quickly becoming a national leader in renewable energy by building a competitive solar industry, and today’s award recipients are an example of how that progress continues to grow,” said Governor Cuomo. “As we recognize Climate Week NYC, this is a significant step forward in our goal of creating a better place for New Yorkers to live and work, and I look forward to seeing these projects contribute to a cleaner environment”.     

Cuomo’s aim for a self-sufficient solar industry is already being proven by the sharp decline of aggregate bid prices for the awarded projects. While about a year ago the price was US$1 per watt in Con Edison territory and 68 cents per watt in the rest of the state, in these project bids it falls to 55 and 41 cents per watt respectively; 1.6 more solar energy generated per ratepayer dollar.

"The decrease in the incentive level provided by the state is an important result from this round of projects,” underlines Evan Juska, Head of US Policy, The Climate Group. “This move towards a more self-sustaining solar industry should continue next year as this program merges with the NY-Sun Incentive Program, where public support for projects will gradually be reduced as the market becomes more and more mature."

SOLAR JOBS

In a separate statement, Governor Cuomo pledged the construction of a “GigaFactory” for solar panels in Buffalo. Solar company SolarCity will invest US$5 billion over the next 10 years to build and operate the new factory.

The State of New York will facilitate the construction of the 1.2 million square foot (112.000 square meters) factory with US$750 million. The GigaFactory is expected to be online in the first quarter of 2016.

The speech of Governor Andrew Cuomo at "The New Buffalo" convention

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