- New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr
. (I, D, WF-Sag Harbor) applauded Governor Andrew Cuomo
for establishing a solar feed-in tariff plan for the Long Island Power Authority
), similar to the one he proposed in 2009, as part of his NY-Sun proposal to increase the generation of solar power in New York State.
Thiele stated, "If we are to be truly energy independent and reduce energy costs on Long Island, we must provide incentives to encourage the production of solar and other alternative sources of energy. The establishment of a feed-in tariff program is a market-based strategy to do just that. Rather than provide cash rebates to install solar, here LIPA would pay an incentive for the power produced by solar power to encourage the development of solar infrastructure."
Thiele's proposal, first introduced in 2009, would have directed LIPA to establish a feed-in tariff program. Under the Thiele proposal, LIPA would have been authorized to purchase up to 100 megawatts of electricity under the program. Thiele's bill set an initial tariff of 32 cents per kilowatt hour and a 20 year contract for solar producers. LIPA could adjust the tariff due to market conditions no more than once every two years.
Under the proposal announced by LIPA and the Governor last week, 50 megawatts would be purchased by LIPA and the tariff would be 22 per kilowatt hour.
Thiele stated, "Not only will this program encourage the rapid and sustainable development of electricity from renewable sources, it will create green jobs on Long Island. The German solar energy industry created over 50,000 jobs in less than five years, with the entire renewable energy industry creating as many as 200,000. More than 25,000 solar energy workers are employed in Spain. In Gainesville, Florida, a surge of capital
investment in community solar systems has been experienced and local contractors have been hiring to meet demand. A solar feed-in tariff program will provide a simple and transparent means for solar investments to earn reasonable and reliable returns, allowing capital to flow into clean and renewable energy systems. My only reservation is that LIPA may have initially set the tariff too low to encourage investment. Hopefully, they will adjust to market conditions to make the program successful."