Photovoltaic (PV) systems convert light directly into electricity using semiconductor technology. Individual photovoltaic (PV) cells are connected to panels. Solar panels convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity. An inverter converts DC into alternating current (AC) for electricity in the home. The utility meter records the net amount of energy generated through the PV system. When you’re creating more electricity than you’re using, your meter will spin backward and the excess electricity is sent to the electric grid. This helps to offset the cost of your electricity usage at night or on cloudy days when your system is not producing electricity.

Solar 101
Solar Market

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), 5 gigawatts (GW) of solar PV was installed in Q1 of 2021 to reach an estimated 102.8 GW today, or enough to power more than 18.6 million homes. The cost to install solar has dropped more than 70% in the last decade. Solar is becoming main-stream, and prices will continue to drop as the technology improves and financing becomes more affordable. 

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NYS Solar Goals

In his 2012 State of the State Address, Governor Cuomo launched the NY-Sun initiative to double the amount of customer-sited solar power installed annually in New York, and quadruple that amount by 2013, equating to a 300% growth in annual installed customer-sited capacity in New York State. In April of 2014 he announced a nearly $1 billion commitment to NY-Sun, which helped significantly expand deployment of solar capacity throughout the state and transform New York’s solar industry to a sustainable, subsidy-free sector. Between 2011 and 2016, New York experienced a nearly 800% growth in solar.

Through the 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), the Governor doubled the New York solar goal again to 6 GW by 2025 and extended State incentive programs.

New York now has more than 800 solar companies operating across the State from Long Island to Buffalo. Combined, this market employs close to 10,000 highly skilled jobs and continues to grow.  

Vision CNY Regional Sustainability Plan

The Central New York Region has more than 790,000 residents who live in six cities, 94 towns and 44 villages spread over nearly 3,600 square miles. The region consumes approximately 6.2 million MWh of electricity and produces over 25 million MWh of electricity, equal to approximately 14.5% of the state’s total generation. There are significant opportunities in CNY to lower carbon emissions while generating jobs and local investment. With support from NYSERDA, the Central New York Regional Sustainability Plan, Vision CNY, provides information and guidance to allow the region’s communities to implement specific projects that provide the greatest opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save energy, and deploy renewable energy consistent with statewide energy and climate goals and the strategic plan adopted by the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council in 2011.