The New York Solar Energy Industries Association (NYSEIA), the trade association representing the New York solar energy industry, is calling for a detailed and long-term vision to make New York the leading market for solar energy in the Northeast.

Commenting on the proposed state Energy Plan, the Association says it backs increasing incentives for photovoltaic (PV) installations, adding state solar water heating and solar space heating programs, instituting a state government solar energy purchasing program, providing funding incentives for smaller and mid-sized solar companies, and revising net metering laws, among other initiatives.

In particular, the Association advocates for the following additional fundamental elements to be included in the Energy Plan:

  • Creating a long-term plan that provides clear incentives by 2017 for the deployment of 2,000 MW of PVs, with the incentives phasing out over time as the PV installations reach economies of scale.
  • Providing a solar solution for the more than 50% of the state’s energy consumption used for space heating and hot water, by including solar water heating and solar space heating technologies in the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS).
  • Instituting a state government solar energy purchasing program to provide simple mechanisms for state government agencies, authorities and municipalities to purchase PV and solar thermal products.
  • Recognizing the unique value that PV and solar thermal systems provide when deployed in different areas and applications. Solar can displace the most expensive – and polluting – power in utility load pockets areas where the grid is particularly stressed and peak demand coincides with solar’s production curve.
  • Creating jobs quickly by funding incentives for small- and medium-sized solar systems, noting that the added values of solar are enhanced when deployed in smaller increments on a distributed basis. Smaller systems are shovel ready, can be deployed in the near-term and on a shorter project timeline.
  • Changing the commercial net metering laws by removing the current capacity limit for commercial PV systems that is based on a customer’s peak demand, and instead limit system size to a customer’s annual electricity consumption.
  • Attracting a solar manufacturing base by creating demand for solar products, developing a trained workforce to install and service the demand, and building “Technology Clusters of Excellence,” where New York’s best minds already exist in its universities and colleges.

“Solar can help the state turn the economy around, de-couple our electric rates from oil and gas imports, clean our air and water, and return New York to its rightful place as the best place to live and raise a family,” said NYSEIA president Ron Kamen, adding that over the next 10 years, solar electric and solar thermal technologies have the potential to create tens of thousands of jobs and provide over 4,000 MW of electric and thermal equivalent capacity.

Solar and other renewables are key to the future smart and clean energy world and their potential for distributed generation and net metering in the East Coast will come under the spotlight at Smart Energy East Coast 2009, which is taking place in New York from October 27-28.

For more information, see www.metering.com/seec