Saturday, November 27, 2010

$15 Million in Federal Stimulus Funding Allocated to NY

ALBANY - Governor David Paterson 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.


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