New York’s Solar Balance Sheet

 
Solar panels atop the roof of the New York Power Authority in White Plains.
Suzanne DeChillo/The New York TimesSolar panels atop the roof of the New York Power Authority in White Plains.

Despite uncertainties in the solar energy market, New York officials should support the “steady and measured growth” of solar power in the state as part of a balanced renewable energy strategy, a new report recommends.

The report, by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, known as Nyserda, evaluated the costs and benefits of pursuing the growth of solar to an installed capacity of 5,000 megawatts by the year 2025, from around 110 megawatts now. Yet because of variables like the cost of photovoltaic technology and the future availability of federal tax credits for solar investment, the authors found it hard to estimate how much solar would really cost.

The financial scenarios vary widely. It could cost New York State ratepayers anywhere from $300 million to $9 billion to install solar power between 2013 and 2049. The report said that under the most likely conditions, the cost would be about $3 billion and the installations would increase electric bills by up to 3 percent in any given year. In other words, the costs exceed the benefits.

Nevertheless, the report, which was mandated by the StateLegislature to guide New York State in its pursuit of renewable power to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create jobs, recommended that the state continue policies that support solar, “given the many potential benefits that PV has to offer and the long-term potential for lower-cost PV technology.”

Such policies include investing in research, removing red tape for installation permits and providing sales tax exemptions.

The New York Times

http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/01/new-yorks-solar-balance-sheet/?ref=solarenergy

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