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Legislative Memo

Darren Suarez
Director of Government Affairs
T 518.465.7511
www.bcnys.org

BILL:

S.2522 (Maziarz)

 

NEUTRAL

SUBJECT:

Solar Incentive Program

 

S.2522 (Maziarz)

DATE:

April 23, 2014

 

Electricity is a crucial commodity that we all take for granted. It powers our lives, businesses, medical services and entertainment. Government action that will result in an increase in the cost of electricity should be extensively scrutinized. Marginal increases in taxes, fees and assessment on electricity manifest themselves in a cumulative way as increases in increases in the cost of food, heating, taxes, and production.

The Business Council is neutral on this entire bill but strongly supports the manufacturing credits contained in the legislation. There should be an agreement that this solar commitment will not require additional assessments developed by the Public Service Commission.

Currently, various New York State entities collect and spend $1.4 billion per year on renewables and energy efficiency. New York needs to be spending the current fees and assessments in a wiser manner and not add new assessments

New York State thus far has failed to build an integrated state approach to clean energy investment and innovation that hold taxpayers harmless while encouraging more vibrant private market activity in clean energy.

Manufacturing Credit

The Business Council strongly supports the manufacturing tax credit and other similar efforts to expand solar photovoltaic generation systems and energy storage manufacturing in the state while keeping costs under control to protect the ratepayer. The credits contained in this bill are vitally important to ensure that New York manufactures have an opportunity to capitalize on solar mandates.

There is little doubt that the world solar market has been flood with underpriced state supported solar panels. One country at this time controls 80% of the global solar manufacturing market. Due to China's dominance of the market, projected economic gains from solar mandate were misleading. Additionally, there was little opportunity to establish US solar manufacturing. This may have changed in recent times as China's policies on solar manufacturing have been amended. If New York is going to require the purchase of solar equipment, the State should also strive to reduce the barriers to New York manufacturing of solar panels.

As important as the development of a solar manufacturing sector in New York is the development of an energy storage equipment manufacturing is just as important. Commercial, cost-effective energy storage technology is poised to be a game-changer for two of the world's largest and most essential industries: electricity and transportation. Reliable energy storage will change how vehicles are powered and how the entire electricity grid functions. Energy storage products are key to hybrid and electric vehicles and will make possible the effective widespread use of wind and solar energy.  

New York has an opportunity to be a leader in the research and manufacturing of energy storage equipment, now is the time to provide a sensible incentive.

Conclusion

The majority of New Yorker businesses and residents are concerned about their energy rates. The Business Council believes this legislation could result in increased energy assessments and increased energy costs, but believe the sponsor is committed to the containment of increased assessments going to purposes of questionable value and/or that are already receiving considerable state support.

For these reasons, The Business Council is neutral on this legislation but strongly support the manufacturing tax credits.