Let the sunshine in! Queens officials want to add solar power to a million households in five years

Photo courtesy of State Senator Michael Gianaris

Queens elected officials are joining advocates to urge New York state to support the bold new goal of powering one million households — including 100,000 low-income homes — with solar by 2023.

The effort is being organized by the Million Solar Strong Group, a movement of leading industry, environmental, clean energy and community organizations. The group, which held an event several months ago at Hunters Point South Park in Long Island City, is gaining momentum with a number of prominent state and local leaders endorsing the call for more New York solar power.

“New York can be a national leader in renewable energy and solar power is a great place to build our green energy future,” state Senator Michael Gianaris said. “I am pleased to join the Queens community in pushing for a strong plan for the future of our state.”

Currently, New York state has more than 200,000 households powered by solar and 9,000 workers in the solar industry. Powering one million New York homes with solar will generate jobs, reduce and stabilize utility bills, stimulate local investment, cut harmful pollution, accelerate an equitable transition to a clean energy future, and counter the Trump administration’s attacks, according to the Million Solar Strong Campaign.

“It is important for New York to be at the forefront of renewable energy, and powering one million homes with solar energy is a great start,” state Senator Joseph Addabbo said. “During this last Senate session I co-sponsored a bill that would extend the deadline for homeowners to apply for the solar electric generating system real property tax abatement program which gives homeowners a tax break if they install a solar electric generating system to their home. I am proud to jump on board the Million Solar Strong Campaign as this initiative will not only improve the quality of life for residents, but will also bring thousands of jobs to our state.”

The coalition is calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to institute and support concrete policies to reach the one million solar strong goal.

“The United Nation recently released a landmark report on climate change which painted an extremely bleak picture of the immediate effects of climate change,” state Senator Toby Ann Stavisky said. “It is important that we shift away from fossil fuels and embrace clean and renewable energy. Solar energy can be a key ingredient to that necessary change. Not only will it help save the environment, but it will also provide lower income households with a cheaper and more sustainable form of energy.”