Bill Memo: Scaling Up Solar
This legislation amends the environmental conservation law by adding a new section, 52-0908, to provide an exemption from requirements for the alienation of parkland for renewable energy projects of two megawatts or less.
This legislation allows for solar energy projects to be installed and operated in the parking lots of municipal parklands without requiring approval from the legislature. This bill will help the State achieve emissions reduction goals in a timely manner.
In 2019 the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) was passed, setting mandates of 85% emissions reduction by 2050 and 70% renewable electricity generation statewide by 2030. Achieving these ambitious goals will require swift action and creative solutions.
In 2020, New York received only 31% of its electricity from renewable sources, leaving a substantial gap to fill by 2030. Renewable energy does have the potential to account for 70% of energy generation in the next decade through a combination of large-scale and small-scale renewable energy projects. Solar is the primary small-scale renewable energy option as it can be added to nearly any building or structure with relatively low installation costs, minimal maintenance, and the ability to provide decades of carbon free electricity. Parking lots provide the ideal space for installing solar panels because they are open spaces with direct available sunlight. Using existing municipal parking lots to install solar projects means that additional land space will not need to be cleared to ramp up municipal small-scale solar projects.
By allowing renewable energy projects to be installed in parking lots of municipal parklands without legislative approval, these projects can be installed more rapidly. Solar projects will provide energy and cost savings, while reducing carbon emissions and bringing the State closer to the goals of the CLCPA.
Environmental Advocates NY Bill Rating: Beneficial
Memo #: 3