New York State falls short of a 2010 Top Ten ranking for new solar installation capacity

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Despite 2010 being “a banner year for the solar energy market in the United States”, according to the 2010 Year in Review published by GTM research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), New York State failed to make the top ten list of annual installed PV capacity.  In addition, despite the overall robust growth of newly installed solar in the U.S., global market share of the U.S. declined from 2009 to 2010.

Source: GTM Research and SEIA. 2010 Year in Review

New Jersey is better than New York” was what one clean tech blogger, Eric Wesoff from Greentech Solar with self-identified "Brooklyn roots",  titled his blog  from his reading of the GTM Research-SEIA report. In addition to highlighting New York's status behind rival New Jersey, Eric points to the finer points made by one of the report's co-authors, Shayle Kann, Managing Director of GTM Solar Research, who articulates that the more important stake beyond the mere counting of solar installation capacities is which state will come to the fore as the hub for innovation and commerce of the rapidly expanding northeast solar industry market?  So far Kann says that state poised to lead the East Coast utility market is New Jersey. NJ is taking the lead by sticking to a long-term, aggressive-but-achievable commitment to scaling solar through a smartly designed and implemented solar policy

It’s time for New York to regain respect as a progressive and innovative leader on clean energy and solar development.  The New York Solar Industry Development and Jobs Act will do just that by showing neighboring states in the northeast and the nation as a whole that New York is committed toward scaling and conditioning a world class, competitive solar industry. 

To put solar in perspective on a national and international level, the 2010 Year in Review report showed  U.S. solar PV industry represented one of the few bright spots in the U.S. economy with domestic industry growth showing 67% growth for 2010. However, even with that amount of robust growth, the U.S. still fell more behind in global market share of installed solar capacity, slipping from 6% in 2009 to 5% in 2010 (indicated by the dotted line in the graph below). 

GTM-SEIA solar 2010 US growth.JPG

Source: Ibid.

Absent comprehensive climate and clean energy legislation in the last congress combined with near-term looming expiration dates for key federal incentives and policy support for solar and other clean renewables, the U.S. risks falling further behind the rest of the world in cultivating its own domestic clean energy industries that can compete at scale.  Our timing is critical to get good renewables and solar policies up and running at the state level - e.g. New York State Solar Industry Development and Jobs Act - and to protect key incentives and policy support at federal level.