Labor Groups Join the Call for More Solar in New York

The New York Solar Jobs Act continues to gain momentum before Albany lawmakers reconvene in just a few short weeks.  Today our coalition officially welcomed the support of several organizations representing labor and trades:

  • National Electrical Contractors Association
  • United Association
  • New York State AFL-CIO
  • NYS Building & Construction Trades Council
  • NYS Apollo Alliance
  • Workforce Development Institute

Below is the official statement of principles that forges this new and historic alliance among solar and clean energy advocates, leading businesses, environmental groups and labor to get a New York solar bill passed in 2012.

New York State is facing two connected fiscal, policy and political imperatives:  we must create sustainable, clean energy and we must create new, sustainable jobs.  To make both sustainable we need more than a single project or even several projects—we need a well thought out program and the fiscal, policy and political will to carry the program forward.  The New York Solar Jobs Coalition is an historic collaboration of organized labor, the solar industry and environmental organizations working to promote and develop good jobs in the clean energy economy. We believe that investments in New York’s solar industry go hand in hand with economic development, job creation and sound environmental policy.

We believe that the State must set an ambitious solar goal by a date certain – equivalent to 5,000 megawatts of solar on the grid by 2025.  We also believe that the State must develop policies that stimulate the demand for and incentivize the local manufacture of products in the solar supply chain.

The Coalition understands the environmental imperative of reducing carbon emissions and recognizes the role of small businesses in delivering residential solar installation at the neighborhood level.  The Coalition believes that providing businesses throughout the state with a stable and predictably-priced energy option will enhance their competitiveness and allow them to continue to invest in local operations and jobs.  We also believe that no State incentive program will be successful unless it is designed to scale and developed to create demand in the commercial marketplace. All members of the Coalition agree that applying labor protection laws, specifically the prevailing wage law, to the installation of photovoltaic devices above a certain size threshold is the best way to ensure that New York is expanding solar technology while at the same time creating good, local, family-supporting green jobs. 

The New York Solar Jobs Coalition supports Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders who are committed to the expansion of New York’s solar industry.   We applaud the inclusion of a solar jobs impact study in the Power NY Act of 2011 and we look forward to the study’s results.  A reliable supply of affordable energy over the long-term is key to New York’s economic future. Investments in renewable energy have the added value of contributing to a cleaner, healthier and safer future. 

This initiative is about energy security, the creation of good jobs, and investment in New York. With a good faith effort on all sides, we look forward as a united coalition to working with New York’s elected officials to develop a solar jobs program that will position our state as a national leader in the development of solar energy and good, green jobs. 

The ever-broadening coalition of business, environmental and labor interests shows that New Yorkers are demanding more investment in solar energy to reinvigorate our economy (juxtaposed to this sobering New York State economic & jobs report released earlier today), provide new job opportunities and clean up our environment.