NYS Senate passes bill to expand renewable energy technology

George D. Maziarz

March 12, 2013

The New York State Senate today passed legislation sponsored by Senator George D. Maziarz (R-C, Newfane) that would help encourage the installation of renewable energy technologies by making them more cost efficient and accessible. 

The bill (S1111) would add solar, wind, fuel cells, micro-hydro-electric, farm-based biogas and residential Micro Combined Heat and Power (micro-CHP) to current state financing initiatives that help make energy efficiency upgrades more attractive to potential consumers, reduce fossil fuel consumption, and support job growth in the clean energy sector.

“Renewable energy technologies are an extremely important part of New York State's energy future,” said Senator Maziarz, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee. “The addition of these technologies provides residents, local businesses and not-for-profits accessibility to these energy alternatives that they might otherwise have not invested in.  The use of these innovative energy sources will then provide increased energy savings, which in turn would lead to job retention and creation throughout New York State.  I am proud to be the sponsor of this legislation that will help many consumers and businesses alike.”

“Adding renewable technologies to the programs available through the state’s existing low-cost financing programs is good for our environment and our economy,” Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos said. “More consumers would find options like solar and wind power cost effective, which would then lead to increased energy savings, continued growth of the clean energy industry here in New York, and the creation of new jobs.”

Currently, the Green Jobs Green New York Program offers residential consumers, small businesses, and not-for-profits significant savings through low-cost energy audits and financing for improvements. As of the end of 2012, more than 2,500 loans amounting to $24 million had been issued, but the program has been growing at about half the pace that was initially projected.

The bill passed today adds solar, wind, fuel cells, micro-hydro-electric, farm-based biogas and residential micro-CHP systems to the list of measures eligible for the Green Jobs Green New York Program’s low-interest loans or on-bill recovery – payment installment plan tied to the utility bill. 

Adding the renewable technologies to the program would help reduce the front-end costs that may prevent consumers from investing in cost-effective energy saving installations. It would help boost the ability of solar, wind and other renewable energy companies to market their products and also help increase jobs to meet the growing demand for the systems.  

The bill has been sent to the Assembly.