Solar Power - Rochester, NY area

Considering Solar Power as a major renewable energy  source for our area.    

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Page Contents:  Newslinks | Discussions |Education | Resources



My photo of Steel Winds project in Lacawanna, NY.

Solar Power

Yes, New York State, the sun shines here too We need to get moving on renewable energy.  The collapse of the Great Lakes Off-shore wind project (GLOW) leaves our state vulnerable to the Fracking boon.  A boon is the economic code word for saying forget everything you know about human rights, property rights, environmental health, and go after the stuff you want in the ground with no holds barred.   Drill baby drill! Somehow we have decided that off-shore wind turbines are so ugly and expensive that we have to tear up our New York State country-side, dig up more fossil fuel to warm our atmosphere, and put our drinking water at risk.  And, just to show our distain for the Climate Change Crisis, we’re probably going to allow one of the most polluting fossil fuels to run a pipeline through our country from Canada, get refined in the Gulf, and then spewed into our atmosphere: more...

Community Solar Meetups Everywhere - Meetup "Around the globe people are coming together take a picture of a school, place of worship, community building or local park that they plan to occupy with beautiful solar panels. Start a group today and begin moving your community towards energy independence! "



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Solar Power Discussions

Rochester area information or discussions pertaining to the use of solar power in our area. 

  • States Reconsider Renewable Standards Many states have instituted Renewable Portfolio Standards, that require a proportion of energy needs be met by green power, rather than fossil fuels. But as the Clean Energy States Alliances’s Executive Director Warren Leon tells host Steve Curwood, despite better technology, public support and tax incentives, some states are looking to roll back their renewables policies. (March 6, 2015) Living On Earth [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • Is photovoltaic solar becoming more viable? Is solar power a viable energy source -- right now? How much does it cost to fit your house, or your workplace? How soon could it replace fossil fuels, if ever? We look at the business side, the policy side, and the environmental side with our panel: David Levy, director of Research Technology, Natcore Technology Sam Mason, project facilitator, Sustainable Energy Developments Dr Susan Spencer. solar scientist and founder of RocSpot Click here for background on the different kinds of solar technology. (December 3, 2014) Innovation Trail [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • Cuomo starts community solar power initiative New York is starting a new initiative designed to help local communities expand their use of solar power. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the program on Friday. Called Community Solar New York, the effort will offer assistance to local governments, schools and community groups interested in investing in solar energy. (December 6, 2014) Penfield Post [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • Syracuse University using sun to heat water at student residences SYRACUSE, NY -- At Syracuse University's Skytop apartments, the sun's ultra violet rays will soon provide more than a tan. They'll be heating water in student housing. The university is installing 240 solar thermal panels that will heat water at 20 Skytop apartment buildings on SU's south campus. By August the solar system should be providing 50 to 60 percent of the energy needed year-round to heat water for 160 three-bedroom apartments. The $789,500 project will be mostly funded through a $450,000 grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and its solar thermal program. (JUly 12, 2013) [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • Governor Cuomo Announces $107 Million Available Through NY-Sun Inititiative for Large Solar Power Installations As Part of NY-Sun Initiative, Available Funding Doubled Through 2013 to Increase Rate of Solar Power Installations and Reduce and Stabilize Electricity Costs for Businesses Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that $107 million is now available through the NY-Sun Initiative for a major solar power incentive program that will increase the amount of electricity generated by photovoltaic (PV) systems throughout New York. The NY-Sun Competitive PV Program, which is being administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), seeks proposals for large (more than 50 kilowatts) PV systems to be installed at businesses, factories, municipal buildings and other larger commercial and industrial customers. A new website,, has been launched to provide a one-stop-shop for applicants seeking funding through the NY-Sun program.  (August 9, 2012) New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)  [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • NYSEIA recognizes seven solar projects TARRYTOWN – Solar projects across the state from New York City, Long Island, Hudson Valley, Capital Region and Western New York - at locations ranging from city housing and government buildings to a winery and landfill - were recognized by the New York Solar Energy Industries Association (NYSEIA) with 6KC awards. “These projects recognize the best and brightest solar projects and individuals in the Empire State,” said NYSEIA Executive Director Gail Markets. NYSEIA President Ron Kamen was recognized as the 2011 Solar Industry Champion. Kamen, also chairman at EarthKind Energy in Kingston, has served as president of the membership association since 2009 and has more than 20 years of experience in the energy industry. Kamen and the association have been strong supporters of the Solar Jobs Bill, among other statewide policies and initiatives. (September 29, 2011) [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • Will Japan’s nuclear power disaster mean more solar power in Rochester region? One has to wonder if the one-in-a-million disaster scenario occurring in Japan with their nuclear plants and the major earthquake will wake up area communities to the dangers of nuclear power. Second Explosion at Reactor as Technicians Try to Contain Damage - TOKYO — A second explosion rocked a troubled nuclear power plant Monday, blowing the roof off a containment building but not harming the reactor inside, while cooling systems failed at a third reactor, Japanese officials said. (March 14, 2011) The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia Though we here don’t have a major earthquake fault running through Rochester, we are not immune to the other environmental and health issues which are always a concern with nuclear power. Nuclear power, which to many people may seem like a real solution to our energy needs and curbing greenhouse gases, is not benign or cheap. Our media fails to focus on the real and present danger nuclear power presents.   more...

New York Solar :: Powering New York's Economy "A diverse coalition of stakeholders including many of New York’s largest companies, labor unions, small businesses and environmental groups are coming together to support a proposal to help create new local jobs; modernize our power infrastructure; protect our environment, and help New York regain its leadership position in the clean energy economy. This proposal is a smart way to begin to put the state back to work while also helping New Yorkers save on their utility bills, invest in our local energy economy and support a healthier environment. At a time when New York faces the dual crisis of high unemployment and an aging energy infrastructure, this kind of policy would be a win-win for all New Yorkers. "

Solar Power Newslinks

Learn about the issue of Wind Power with online sites and articles.


  • Brighton eyes solar law  More solar power systems in Brighton would mean that residents and businesses could get clean, low-cost power while lessening the town's environmental footprint, officials say. That's why town leaders have developed a draft solar ordinance. Solar panels are allowed in Brighton, says town planner Ramsey Boehner, but that's not specifically stated in the town code. That means that someone could argue that the code doesn't actually allow the panels, he says. "We need to make a definitive statement that they are allowed in the Town of Brighton," Boehner says. There's another practical reason for the ordinance: to tell property owners who want to install solar panels what the town government expects of them. Like other exterior improvements, solar power systems require building permits from the town. (February 25, 2015) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • Solar power push  A decade from now, solar power systems could be spread across the City of Rochester, providing low-cost renewable electricity for city homes, churches, public buildings, and businesses. That's the vision of the people behind a new nonprofit, ROCspot. The organization's founder, Susan Spencer, says that the best way to work toward that vision is to build interest in solar power, neighborhood by neighborhood. The Solarize Rochester campaign is a good way to build that interest, she says. ROCspot would head up the initiative, partnering with city officials and NeighborWorks, Spencer says. The groups would hold assemblies for homeowners to learn about solar. ROCspot would also help homeowners form solar purchasing cooperatives to solicit bids from solar power system installers, Spencer says. The approach can lower costs for homeowners and installers, she says. "This is very much a modular approach," Spencer says. "We can do this in every neighborhood." (February 4, 2015) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • From a town dump to a solar array in Williamson Closed for 20-plus years, the old town dump in Williamson has not been good for much except as a trash graveyard. You cannot build there. And unlike bigger landfills, the roughly 20 acres of fenced-off Wayne County land doesn't even generate enough methane from the rotting refuse underground to be useful as a source of energy. But today, deep in the heart of upstate New York apple country, the south face of that hump of land is covered with rows upon rows of solar panels — the largest solar power installation in the Rochester region and one of the largest in the state. (January 23, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • Monroe County considering solar-power project Monroe County may sponsor construction of a solar power farm to provide lower-cost, renewable electricity to a county-owned facility. County officials currently are reviewing proposals received in November from a number of energy development companies that have offered to finance and construct a solar farm. Electricity generated by the photovoltaic cells would be sold to the county under a long-term purchase agreement. The size and location of the solar installation have not been determined, though the request for proposals issued by the county last fall said it would make sense to site the solar farm adjacent to one of its existing facilities. The document said proposers should consider sites near the county government's three biggest electricity users — the wastewater treatment plants off Lakeshore Boulevard near Durand-Eastman Park and off Payne Beach Road in Hilton, and the downtown Civic Center Complex. Other locations also were possible, the document said. The county would pursue the project only if it makes financial sense, said environmental services director Michael Garland. (January 12, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Solar Power in our area]


  • Bloomfield School District looks to save green by going green  After discussing and researching the possibilities of harnessing green-energy options, officials in the Bloomfield Central School District made the move toward renewable energy as part of the 2014 capital project. Now dozens of rows of solar panels sit on the rooftops of the district's elementary and high schools, while two school buses powered by propane gas have been introduced to the district's fleet. "This is part of the push for our school district to go green — to be as green as we can," said Bloomfield Central School District Superintendent Michael Midey. The move is expected to save on a portion of the district's energy expenses as well. (December 11, 2014) Webster Post [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • While You Were Getting Worked Up Over Oil Prices, This Just Happened to Solar Every time fossil fuels get cheaper, people lose interest in solar deployment. That may be about to change. After years of struggling against cheap natural gas prices and variable subsidies, solar electricity is on track to be as cheap or cheaper than average electricity-bill prices in 47 U.S. states -- in 2016, according to a Deutsche Bank report published this week. That’s assuming the U.S. maintains its 30 percent tax credit on system costs, which is set to expire that same year. Even if the tax credit drops to 10 percent, solar will soon reach price parity with conventional electricity in well over half the nation: 36 states. Gone are the days when solar panels were an exotic plaything of Earth-loving rich people. Solar is becoming mainstream, and prices will continue to drop as the technology improves and financing becomes more affordable, according to the report. (October 29, 2014) Bloomberg News [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • New York Solar Businesses Are Ready to Roll with Clean Power Dozens of New York solar businesses issued a letter to the White House today, endorsing limits on carbon pollution from power plants and advocating that solar energy become a focal point of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan. “As solar power installers, manufacturers, designers, aggregators, product suppliers, and consultants, we welcome the EPA’s unveiling of the Clean Power Plan,” reads the letter, organized by the advocacy group Environment New York. “This plan is a critical step toward transforming our energy system to one that protects our health and environment, and that of our children.”   To address the growing threat of climate change, in June the U.S. EPA proposed its Clean Power Plan, which would require New York’s power plants to cut carbon by 44% by 2030. The plan is open for public comment until December 1st, and could be finalized by next year. (October 24, 2014) Environment New York [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • Rochester company awarded funding to develop solar technology A Rochester company has been awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars to go towards solar energy development, according to officials. Congresswoman Louise Slaughter's office says Intrinsiq Materials Incorporated, a nanotechnology leader in printable electronic ink, has been awarded $450,000. (October 22, 2014) WHEC [more on Solar Power and Green Business in our area]
  • Governor Cuomo Announces $94 Million Awarded for Solar Projects Across the State 142 Solar Projects at Businesses and Schools Will Increase New York’s Solar Capacity by 68 Percent Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced NY-Sun awards for large solar electric projects that will increase the solar capacity in New York State by more than 214 megawatts, a 68 percent increase over the amount of solar installed and in the pipeline at the end of 2013. The competitive awards further advance the scale-up of solar and move the State closer to a sustainable, self-sufficient solar industry. “Today we are making another long-term investment in our clean energy economy – with nearly $100 million in funding that will dramatically increase our capacity to generate and utilize solar energy across the state,” Governor Cuomo said. “New York is quickly becoming a national leader in renewable energy by building a competitive solar industry, and today’s award recipients are an example of how that progress continues to grow. As we recognize Climate Week, this is a significant step forward in our goal of creating a better place for New Yorkers to live and work, and I look forward to seeing these projects contribute to a cleaner environment.” (September 26, 2014) The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • City of Canandaigua to hear solar panel presentation  The city’s environmental committee next week will consider a proposal to install solar panels at the water treatment plant. Council members will hear a presentation from RER Energy Group and Hunt Engineering Tuesday about their plan to seek investors for the project. Once constructed, the energy would be sold to the city at a discounted rate and the rest would go back to the grid, according to city staff. (September 6, 2014) Daily Messenger [more on Climate Change in our area]
  • Solar Power on the Rise: The Technologies and Policies behind a Booming Energy Sector Solar power – clean, reliable, and increasingly affordable – is experiencing remarkable growth across the U.S. DOWNLOAD: Solar Power on the Rise: The Technologies and Policies behind a Booming Energy Sector (2014) Solar power generates electricity with no global warming pollution, no fuel costs, and no risks of fuel price spikes, and has the potential to help move the country toward cleaner, reliable, and affordable sources of electricity. Small-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, typically on rooftops, account for the majority of solar installations, while large-scale PV systems and concentrating solar power (CSP) systems constitute the majority of solar's overall electricity-generating capacity. All three are undergoing rapid growth. Given the abundance of sunshine across the country, solar power has the potential to supply a significant amount of electricity that is both environmentally and economically attractive. (August 7, 2014) Union of Concerned Scientists [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • City to consider solar power at water plant  The city’s environmental committee will hear a proposal Tuesday that would create solar power at the water treatment plant. Jim Abraham will brief council members at Tuesday’s meeting with the plan to erect solar panels on the Saltonstall Street building. Also on Tuesday’s agenda is a review of the county’s solid waste management plan by Supervisor David Baker. (August 11, 2014) Daily Messenger [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • New Report: Solar Capacity in New York Grew 30% in 2013 Progress Fueled by the NY-SUN Initiative New York, NY – Today, Environment New York Research & Policy Center released a new report: "Lighting the Way” showing strong solar growth across the nation including a 30% increase in New York in 2013. The report emphasizes that it is not availability of sunlight that makes states solar leaders, but the degree to which state and local governments have created effective public policy to help capture the virtually unlimited and pollution-free energy from the sun. New York's progress on solar has helped fuel a tripling of solar energy nationwide between 2011 and 2013. In 2013, solar capacity in New York grew from 175 MW to 250 MW.                                            “Solar energy is emerging as a go-to energy option here in New York and across the country,” said Heather Leibowitz, Director of Environment New York. “Thanks to the commitment of New York’s leaders, this pollution-free energy option is poised to play a major role in helping us meet New York’s goal of a 44% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030.” (August 5, 2014) Environment New York [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • Monroe a bit gloomy on solar energy When it comes to solar energy, the sun may be shining in Erie County, but in Monroe, it's still overcast with a chance of rain. A first-ever release of data on small- to medium-sized solar energy installations in New York state over the last decade shows Erie County first overall in estimated annual generation and Westchester County first in residential production. Monroe was 18th overall and 13th in residential. Monroe residents undertook 183 home solar projects over the 10-year period, according to one piece of the state database. Westchester, which has about 25 percent more people than Monroe, had nearly 400 percent more residential projects, clocking it at 717. Much smaller Tompkins County had 304 home solar projects, which made it third in the per-capita residential installation rankings calculated by the Democrat and Chronicle. Tompkins also led the state in installed capacity in government facilities. (August 1, 2014) Democrat and Chronicle [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • Sun gods: Why solar power isn't just for hippies anymore.  Cynette Cavaliere's interest in solar power started with four wheels. A couple of years ago, Cavaliere got a Chevrolet Volt, which is a plug-in hybrid that runs primarily off of a battery. She charges it at her Penfield home. But Cavaliere says she knew that if she simply plugged her vehicle into its charging station, some of the power would come from plants that run on fossil fuels. So she and her husband pursued a solar power system to offset the electricity they use for the Volt; they had 18 panels installed on their roof. (June 11, 2014) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • Obama to tout renewables, announce solar panel back at the White House President Obama will promote his record on energy efficiency on Friday by touting several initiatives he says are taking hold across the country – as well as the completion of one very close to home. After years of delay, solar panels have been installed on the first family’s residence at the White House, according to aides, who say Obama will make the announcement at a speech in Mountain View, Calif., on Friday. The news makes good on a nearly four-year-old promise to return the renewable energy source to the most high-profile roof in the country. (President Carter had solar panels installed there, but President Reagan had them taken down in 1986.) (May 9, 2014) Los Angeles Times [more on Climate Change and Solar Power in our area]
  • Cuomo: NY making $1B investment in solar power New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the state is making a long-term, $1 billion investment in support of solar power. The Democrat said Thursday that the money will provide funding certainty for efforts to expand solar power over the next decade. Cuomo says the investment will help the state's solar power industry to move away from government subsidies. (April 25, 2014) North Country Public Radio [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • Williamson follows the sun  The Wayne County town of Williamson could begin powering its municipal buildings almost entirely with solar energy as early as the fall. The electricity will come from a 1.5 megawatt solar farm, which will be built on the closed Williamson landfill. Compared to the 580 megawatt Ginna nuclear plant, the generation capacity is small. But it'll be much more powerful than smaller home systems, which often have capacities of a few kilowatts. Williamson won't own the solar facility at first, but will have the option to buy it six years after it comes online. For the time being, it'll buy the electricity under a 25-year contract with plant owner Distributed Sun, of Washington, D.C. "It's renewable, clean energy and it has some savings to us," says Supervisor Jim Hoffman says. He estimates the savings at about $1.5 million over 20 years. (April 23, 2014) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • NY awards $28.6 million for solar projects ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) The state's NY-Sun initiative has awarded $28.6 million to 37 projects across the state, including 29 photovoltaic projects that will add 33.6 megawatts of solar power generation capacity. Gov. Andrew Cuomo says that under the NY-Sun initiative, a total of 299 megawatts of solar photovoltaic capacity has been installed or is under development in the past two years. (March 10, 2014) North Country Public Radio [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • New test lab puts solar panels through our diverse weather There’s a handful of machines in this corner of the massive Intertek testing facility in Cortland. They’re all designed to make sure solar energy panels can withstand being outside for decades, enduring rain, snow and even hail. Rick Lewandowski, the executive director of the Center for Clean Energy Technology, shows an older solar panel that didn’t pass their test. "You can see the impact on this particular module where the failure occurred," he said, rubbing his finger on a small chip out of the solar panel. It was damaged when they hit it with a two-inch think piece of ice traveling at 80 miles per hour. (January 15, 2014) Innovation Trail [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • New York Governor Announces $1 Billion For Solar Energy New York governor Andrew Cuomo delivered his State of the State address on Wednesday and announced an even greater commitment to clean energy, including $1 billion in new funding for solar energy projects. Launched in 2012, Cuomo’s NY-Sun Initiative has already been a tremendous success, with almost 300 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaic capacity installed or under development, more than was installed in the entire decade prior to the program. Now with another major financial boost, Cuomo aims to install 3,000 (MW) of solar across New York. “That’s enough solar to power 465,000 New York homes, cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2.3 million tons annually — the equivalent of taking almost 435,000 cars off the road — and create more than 13,000 new solar jobs,” according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. (January 9, 2014) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Solar Power in our area]

Lighting the Way

The Top Ten States that Helped Drive America’s Solar Energy Boom in 2013 Released

by: Environment New York Research and Policy Center

Release date: Tuesday, August 5, 2014 > 

Read News Release

Download Report (PDF)



  • Solar energy projects, including one in Finger Lakes region, finally getting boost in NY An array of shimmering panels covering 3 acres in New York's Finger Lakes is a sign of the state's latest push to catch up to its neighbors in the Northeast that have set the pace in recent years for promoting solar energy. The project in Romulus that will produce much of the electricity for the Seneca County sheriff's department was funded in part with a grant of almost $1 million from the state's NY-Sun program. The initiative by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration will provide tens of millions of dollars a year for public and private projects producing at least a megawatt of solar power, the equivalent of about 200 typical residential installations. An initial round of competition in 2012 allocated $30 million to 16 developers in New York City and the Hudson Valley who planned to put a total of 34 megawatts online by the end of this year. One aim of NY-Sun is to help meet goals for increasing the share of the state's energy needs covered by renewable sources, now dominated by hydropower. Another is to close the gap with other states that moved more aggressively and quickly to encourage development of solar. (December 23, 2013) The Citizen [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • Bird Death Risk Puts Massive California Solar Project in Serious Doubt The construction of a colossal solar energy project in California is in serious doubt after the California Energy Commission (CEC) blocked a design amendment to reflect sunlight from mirrors to boilers on two, 750-foot towers. The Palen Solar Thermal project was originally proposed and approved in 2010, but redesigned last year when BrightSource Energy bought it after the original owner, Solar Millennium, went bankrupt. At that point, BrightSource proposed incorporating its power tower technology, which the CEC said poses a threat to birds in a 1,000-page document issued this month. (December 17, 2013) EcoWatch [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • State-supported solar panel testing lab opens in Cortland Cortland, NY -- The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the Center for Evaluation of Clean Energy Technology today opened a solar panel testing laboratory that is receiving a $1.7 million state grant. Owned by testing company Intertek, the Cortland facility will provide both indoor and outdoor testing of solar panels for generating capacity and the impacts of snow, extreme temperature and other adverse weather conditions on performance. Currently, the nearest solar panel testing laboratories are located in the southeastern United States and California. Locating a testing site in New York will allow scientists to test equipment performance during the extreme winter and summer conditions in the Northeast, as well as offer ease of access and convenience to solar panel manufacturers based in the region, NYSERDA officials said. (December 4, 2013) [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • Could Buffalo and Rochester both be solar manufacturing hubs? The state's economic development arm will invest $225 million to build a high-tech and green energy business hub in Buffalo. The money is going toward infrastructure and building construction at a 90-acre site, RiverBend, that is the former home of Republic Steel. And yesterday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the manufacturing complex's first committed tenants, both based in California: high-efficiency LED light manufacturer Soraa and solar cell maker Sileveo. The companies will invest $1.5 billion and will create a combined total of 850 jobs, says a press release from Cuomo's office. This is good news for Buffalo. Like every larger city in upstate New York, the Queen City has suffered from industrial decline, so investment and jobs are sorely needed.  But as a Rochesterian, I'm troubled by the news. I worry that it conflicts with active, ongoing efforts to remake the Eastman Business Park — the former Kodak Park — into a magnet for clean-tech and renewable energy research, commercialization, and manufacturing. On several occasions, Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council leaders have said that the state considers Eastman Business Park to be one of its top economic development priorities. (November 22, 2013) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • NY-Sun Unified Solar Permit to Streamline Permitting Processes throughout State Initiative Will Reduce Solar Project Costs and Support Growth of Solar Industry The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), New York Power Authority (NYPA) and City University of New York (CUNY) today announced a partnership that has developed a NYS Unified Solar Permit that will reduce costs for solar projects by streamlining municipal permitting processes and support the growth of clean energy jobs across the state. The unified solar permit is part of Governor Cuomo’s NY-Sun initiative to quadruple in 2013 the amount of solar capacity in New York that was added during 2011. (September 20, 2013) New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)  [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • Sean Lahman: Growth of solar technologies bears out Moore's Law In 1965, Intel founder Gordon Moore predicted that the processing power of computers would double every two years. That prediction, which has come to be known as Moore’s Law, was uncannily accurate and has served as a guide for the rapid pace at which technology advances. One of the areas where Moore’s Law can be observed is in solar power technologies, where researchers have steadily been increasing the efficiency of solar cells while driving the prices down. Many of those advances are being made right here in Rochester. There are about a dozen solar energy companies based in our area driven, in part, by our strong background in optics. It’s hard not to notice the uptick in solar related patent activity over the last six months. (August 22, 2013) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • With Rooftop Solar on Rise,  U.S. Utilities Are Striking Back Faced with the prospect of a dwindling customer base, some U.S. power companies are seeking to end public subsidies and other incentives for rooftop solar. In Arizona, the issue has sparked a heated public relations battle that could help determine the future of solar in the United States. Issues of electricity regulation typically play out in drab government hearing rooms. That has not been the case this summer in Arizona, where a noisy argument – featuring TV attack ads and dueling websites – has broken out between regulated utilities and the rooftop solar industry.  An Internet web video attacks the California startup companies that sell rooftop solar systems as the “new Solyndras,” which are spending “hard-earned tax dollars to subsidize their wealthy customers.” Meantime, solar companies accuse Arizona Public Service, the state’s biggest utility, of wanting to “extinguish the independent rooftop solar market in Arizona to protect its monopoly.” (September 3, 2013) Yale/Environment 360 [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • Solar's odd couples There's an old trope that politics makes strange bedfellows, and that's apparently true with solar power subsidies. Yale Environment 360 published an article yesterday that details the fights over solar power subsidies in some states, Arizona in particular. The article says that the opposition in these states has come from fossil fuel interests, including utility companies. Simply put, they see the growing popularity of rooftop solar panels cutting into their profits. (The panels are becoming cheaper and increasingly efficient, which is helping to increase consumer interest.) But in a couple of these states, some interesting alliances have formed to fight for the subsidies. In Arizona, a coalition of solar firms is represented by Barry Goldwater Jr., a former Congress member whose father was a conservative Republican icon. The article says Goldwater casts the issue as a matter of consumer choice and market competition. (September 4, 2013) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • Solar Energy Capacity Grows as Reliability and Efficiency of PV Panels Increase  The world now has more than 102 gigawatts (GW) of installed photovoltaics (PV), according to the European Photovoltaic Industry Association’s Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics 2013-2017. Even during a time of economic crisis, PV capacity increased by an estimated 31 GWs worldwide in 2012, signaling a turning point in the global solar energy marketplace. According to McKinsey & Company’s Solar Power: Darkest Before Dawn, the PV industry is projected to install an additional 400 to 600 GWs of PV capacity by 2020. As PV prices are expected to continue to fall, underlying costs could drop by as much as 10 percent per year until 2020. (August 27, 2013) EcoWatch [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • President Obama Is Putting Solar on the White House Roof founder and well-known environmentalist Bill McKibben applauded the Obama Administration’s announcement today that they are at work installing a new set of solar panels on the White House roof. “Better late than never—in truth, no one should ever have taken down the panels Jimmy Carter put on the roof way back in 1979,” said McKibben. “But it’s very good to know that once again the country’s most powerful address will be drawing some of that power from the sun.”  The solar panels President Carter installed in 1979 were taken down by President Reagan in 1986. (August 15, 2013) EcoWatch [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • Rochester man puts solar panels on home to show waste Rochester man erects solar panels as testament to government waste The 20 solar panels Jeffrey Punton installed in the backyard of his Weldon Street home won’t ever generate enough electricity to cover their cost. Which is the whole point. He means them as a cautionary tale, one that Punton said cost him $13,000 and received another $29,500 in state and federal subsidies and tax credits. He installed the panels in 2009, and they work: he has generated about 15,000 kilowatt hours of electricity in four years, saving several hundred dollars a year on his energy bill. That’s a lot of savings, but barely enough to recoup his initial investment over several decades, and not enough to cover the public money involved. It’s that public money that chafes him, evidence of governmental intrusion in the marketplace. (August 13, 2013) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • Leasing the sun: Tompkins towns take advantage of deal to go solar ITHACA — In an effort to move toward energy independence and save taxpayers money, many municipalities in Tompkins are going solar. This spring, a handful of towns took advantage of a low-cost solar leasing program through Solar Liberty out of Buffalo and backed by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to install solar panels on their municipal buildings. Solar Liberty is one of the largest NYSERDA-approved solar installers in the state. There were no upfront costs and Solar Liberty maintains the panels for 15 years. Danby is the latest municipality to jump on board following Dryden and Ulysses. (July 30, 2013) The Ithaca Journal [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • Solar manufacturing facility coming to Greece The newly independent SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering plans to establish a solar power manufacturing and technology development hub in the Town of Greece. The new Photovoltaic Manufacturing and Technology Development Facility will be located in a 57,000-square-foot former Kodak building at 115 Canal Landing Boulevard. The building contains a clean room, which will be expanded to 20,000 square feet. Lieutenant Governor Bob Duffy and officials from the college announced the new facility during a press conference this morning. "It's a great adaptive reuse of this former Kodak building," Duffy said. (July 17, 2013) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • Duffy Announces New Solar Energy Project A $100 million solar energy project is setting up at Canal Ponds Business Park in Greece. Lieutenant Governor Bob Duffy was on hand for the announcement. The SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering will be used for a first-of-its-kind solar manufacturing and tech development. It is taking over a facility formally owned by Kodak. Duffy says it will also help to bring many jobs back into the local economy. (July 17, 2013) [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • Proposed solar array offers a bright energy future Here comes the sun: Cornell hopes to expand its renewable energy portfolio as it benefits from the NY-Sun Initiative, a series of large-scale, solar energy projects expected to add about 67 megawatts of solar electricity to the state. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office announced July 9 that the New York State Electric Research and Development Agency (NYSERDA) will fund Cornell’s project, and, in turn, the university will partner with grant awardee Distributed Sun LLC, a company that builds and operates state-of-the-art solar-power generation systems. This project advances the goals of the new Southern Tier plan to obtain 2 percent of the region’s electricity from solar power by 2032. (July 12, 2013) Cornell Chronicle Online [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • Governor Cuomo Awards $54 Million to Fund Large Solar Power Projects Across the State NY-Sun Initiative Will Fund 79 New Projects that will add 64 Megawatts of Solar Capacity in New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that $54 million has been awarded under his NY-Sun initiative for 79 large-scale solar energy projects across the state. The new projects will add 64 megawatts to the state’s solar capacity. “With these major investments through the NY-Sun initiative, New York State is leading the nation in solar energy generation, addressing climate change and growing our clean energy economy,” Governor Cuomo said. “Not only will these projects benefit our environment by reducing dependence on fossil fuels and using renewable energy, but they are also creating well-paying jobs for New Yorkers. These are necessary investments for a bright future in our state.” (July 9, 2013) New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • Rochester Company Could Cut Costs of Solar Systems The commercialization of a new industrial process in Rochester could lead to cheaper, greener solar systems. Nanotech company Intrinsiq Materials, located at the Eastman Business Park, has been awarded $887,000 by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to take their idea forward. Solar cells are currently made with circuits that use connections made from silver; an efficient but expensive conducting material. (June 10, 2013) WXXI News [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • Rochester rising as a solar energy hub Considering it’s one of America’s cloudiest cities, it might surprise some to think of Rochester as a rising star in solar technology. But sunshine isn’t necessary to develop the tools to collect and store the power of the sun. You need what Rochester has in abundance — technical know-how, ties to the latest research and the right facilities to test and make solar cells and batteries. Even Rochester’s expertise in making film is a plus, given the latest trends in solar panels. Things are moving quickly in Rochester’s solar arena: (May 24, 2013) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • Rochester, The Next Solar Capital? Lt. Governor Bob Duffy has announced half-a-million dollars in tax credits for solar technology company Natcore. The credits come as an incentive for the company to expand its footprint at the Eastman Business Park in Rochester. “There’s no doubt in today’s day and age that Natcore and companies like Natcore have choices to make, they can go anywhere they want and they chose to come here. They chose to bring a great company, a great technology here, they’re going to be a big part of the team here at Eastman Business Park,” says Duffy. (May 17, 2013) WXXI News [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • Solar Company Expands at Biz Park, Plans To Add Jobs With the stroke of a pen, Natcore technology signed a two-year lease extension at the Eastman Business Park on Friday. It's an extension that means expansion and new jobs. "It will give us a bigger footprint, allow us to consolidate some of our resources, and do more internally here in Rochester," said Chuck Provini, Natcore CEO.  (May 17, 2013) [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • Governor Cuomo Releases Earth Day Statement and New Environmental Initiatives Proposes Expanded NY-Sun Program to Help Combat Climate Change and Create Green Jobs across the State Announces Partnership to Create Web-Based Repository of New York Climate Change Data “Today is Earth Day – a day we stop to appreciate the great natural wonders around us and consider the world we will leave behind for future generations. At this time of year, we are often reminded of nature’s beauty in this great state, but this week we are also reminded of the fury and devastation Mother Nature can bring at a moment’s notice. Six months ago Hurricane Sandy made landfall, killing 60 New Yorkers, destroying over ten thousand homes and causing tens of billions of dollars in damage. While rebuilding efforts are well underway, we must not lose sight that extreme weather is now the new normal with two ‘once in a century’ storms occurring in the last two years alone. Climate change is very real and has had destructive and deadly consequences in New York. My administration has worked to implement policies that protect our environment and preserve the natural beauty of our state. That work continues today, and I encourage all New Yorkers, at this moment in our history, to join us in pursuing new ways each of us can help reverse the impacts of climate change and add to the narrative of Earth Day. Celebrating Earth Day and working to combat climate change should go hand in hand – it is the only way we can ensure that New York's natural resources and beauty will be protected and enjoyed for generations to come.” (April 22, 2013) NYSERDA [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • Solar Industry Reaches Milestone For the first time ever, all of the new electricity generation added to the nation's power grid in the month of March came from solar installations. That's according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's monthly report on new power sources. (April 22, 2013) NPR [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • Powering America: How Solar Energy Creates Green Jobs and Grows the Economy Calling job creation in America a “shared goal,” the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) today joined other trade associations, labor unions, environmental groups and business and community advocates in pushing for new efforts to address climate change, rebuild America’s aging infrastructure and foster innovation. (April 18, 2013) EcoWatch [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • Feds invest in Solar Rochester facility A former  | Eastman Kodak Co. building in Greece bought by the University at Albany will house a manufacturing and research center for solar energy products, federal officials announced Tuesday. The Solar Rochester Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaic Manufacturing Development Facility, a 50,000-square-foot building at 115 Canal Landing Blvd., will be run by the university’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) and eventually have about 30 full-time employees, said U.S. Department of Energy spokesman Bill Gibbons. The goal is to have the facility operational by November, with advanced tools to be added next year, according to a news release from U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y. (April 16, 2013) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • Installations up, but solar can't deliver a renewable future alone The long relatively low maintenance life cycle for solar technology is one of its biggest selling points. Upstate New York’s known for its occasional gloomy day though, so systems still need backup, either from battery storage or the grid. (March 22, 2013) Innovation Trail [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • U.S. Solar Market Grows 76 Percent in 2012 | Solar Energy Industries Association GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) released last week U.S. Solar Market Insight: Year-in-Review 2012, the definitive analysis of solar power markets in the U.S. With another record-breaking year, solar is the fastest growing energy source in the U.S., powering homes, businesses and utility grids across the nation. The Solar Market Insight annual edition shows the U.S. installed 3,313 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaics (PV) in 2012, a record for the industry. Perhaps most importantly, clean, reliable, affordable solar is continuing a major growth pattern that has made it a leading source of new electricity for America that’s increasingly competitive with conventional electricity across dozens of states today. (March 17, 2013) EcoWatch [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • The Promising Future for Solar and Wind Energy While ratings agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P) has said the oil sector risks future credit downgrades, the news from the renewables energy market points to a much more promising future for solar and wind. When agencies like S&P reflect on what the consequences could be if governments adopt carbon-constraining policies to avert catastrophic climate change, it’s a sure sign that the oil industry and its investors are starting to worry. On the other side of the coin, solar power is ready to boom. Even oil and gas giant Shell forecasts in its New Lens Scenarios report that solar could become the world’s largest primary source of energy by 2070. This must surely be painful for Shell to admit after it decided to exit the solar market back in 2009. Bearing the fruits of its good investments, Germany will see its solar energy market become sustainable by 2014,according to a Deutsche Bank report. (March 13, 2013) EcoWatch [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • MCC gets $200,000 for new solar technology program Rochester, N.Y. — The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has awarded Monroe Community College more than $200,000 in grants to prepare students to become technicians skilled in the design, installation and maintenance of renewable energy systems. Two grants totaling $207,000 support the development of MCC’s solar thermal technology certificate program and the construction of two facilities where integrated hands-on training takes place this spring — the Solar Thermal Auxiliary Resource (STAR) Center and the Weatherization House — at the college’s Applied Technologies Center. (January 31, 2013) Fairport East-Rochester Post [more on Solar Power in our area]
  • Buffalo foundation says solar is no-brainer for rebuilding Haiti This weekend marked the third anniversary of a 7.0 magnitude earthquake that devastated the nation of Haiti. Three years on and the recovery process still has a long way to go, but one organization in western New York has been  helping to bring renewable energy to Haitians still living without power. “Power really should be a human right for people, if you can imagine what life would be like without power it’s um, it’s impossible for people to pull themselves out of poverty without power.” Paige Mecca is the executive director of the Buffalo-based organization, Solar Liberty Foundation  and she says renewable energy should be a part of the Haitian recovery. (January 14, 2013) Innovation Trail [more on Solar Power in our area]


DOWNLOAD: Solar Power on the Rise: The Technologies and Policies behind a Booming Energy Sector (2014) Solar power generates electricity with no global warming pollution, no fuel costs, and no risks of fuel price spikes, and has the potential to help move the country toward cleaner, reliable, and affordable sources of electricity. Small-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, typically on rooftops, account for the majority of solar installations, while large-scale PV systems and concentrating solar power (CSP) systems constitute the majority of solar's overall electricity-generating capacity. All three are undergoing rapid growth. Given the abundance of sunshine across the country, solar power has the potential to supply a significant amount of electricity that is both environmentally and economically attractive. (August 7, 2014) Union of Concerned Scientists



Clean Break Osha Gray Davidson The European Union's biggest and most powerful industrial economy is making a clean break from coal, oil and nuclear energy. It is doing something most Americans would say is impossible, but already Germany is running on 25% clean energy and it is on track to reach 80 percent by 2050. Some experts say it could reach 100 percent by then. But Germany's energiewende, or energy transformation, is really a very American story that revolves around self-reliant individuals in a responsive democracy forging a national can-do vision.  ".....a riveting account of Germany’s energy revolution." The Ecologist

"This book contains a nice combination of interviews, stories, and examples of how Germany is transitioning from a fossil fuel and nuclear infrastructure to a clean, renewable one. It is an important and eye-opening analysis that should be read by anyone interested in emulating this feat in other countries." Mark Z. Jacobson, Director, Atmosphere/Energy Program, Stanford University



Solar Power Resources

Various Online Resources on local Solar Power.

  • The NY-Sun Initiative -The NY-Sun Initiative, a dynamic public-private partnership will drive growth in the solar industry and make solar technology more affordable for all New Yorkers. As part of a balanced Statewide renewable energy policy, NY-Sun will install twice the customer-sited solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity added during 2011 and quadruple that in 2013. Including NY-Sun Brings Solar to Your Community Community Solar NY is a new effort under NY-Sun to make solar easier and more affordable through community-driven initiatives. NYSERDA is supporting these initiatives by providing technical assistance, marketing materials, and funding. Applications from local governments, schools, and community organizations to launch “Solarize” campaigns in spring 2015 are now being accepted.
  • Solar Energy - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation "Solar energy is abundant, non-polluting and does not contribute to global warming. Even in the northeastern United States, solar energy can make a significant contribution to meeting demands for electricity. The New York State Renewable Energy Task Force has recommended that New York increase its generation of electricity from photovoltaics eight-fold by 2011. "
  • NYSERDA - Power Naturally - School Power Naturally "School Power...NaturallySM is an innovative program from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) that is designed to educate New Yorkers about energy, and, in particular, the role solar electric power – photovoltaics, or PV – and wind power generation can play in providing clean energy for our homes, schools, and workplaces. "
  • New York Solar Study "An Analysis of the Benefits and Costs of Increasing Generation from Photovoltaic Devices in New York On August 4, 2011, the Power New York Act of 2011 (the Act) was signed into law. Section 22 of the Act directed NYSERDA to conduct a Study on Increasing Generation from Photovoltaic Devices in New York (the Solar Study). While the current contribution of solar photovoltaic (PV) energy generation is small and the cost of the technology is at a premium compared with market electricity prices, the Act sought analysis of the benefits and costs of PV, acknowledging that costs are declining and noting the potential for PV energy generation to contribute to economic development and job creation in the State. "
  • Solar Energy in Rochester: How do we go about that? Check here: Solar America Communities - Solar Powering Your Community: A Guide for Local Governments, Second Edition "The U.S. Department of Energy developed this comprehensive resource to assist local governments and stakeholders in building sustainable local solar markets. This second edition of the guide was updated to include new market developments and innovations for advancing local solar markets that have emerged since the first edition was released in 2009. This updated edition also contains the most recent lessons and successes from the original 25 Solar America Cities and other communities promoting solar energy. The guide introduces a range of policy and program options that have been successfully field tested in cities and counties around the country. The guide describes each policy or program, followed by more information on: Benefits: Identifies benefits from implementing the policy or program. Implementation Tips and Options: Outlines various tips and options for designing and implementing the policy or program. Examples: Highlights experiences from communities that have successfully implemented the policy or program. Additional References and Resources: Lists additional reports, references, and tools that offer more information on the topic, where applicable. " Department of Energy
  • Solar Server - phototovoltaics, solar heating, solar power - SolarServer "Since 1999, SolarServer with up to 16.000 users per day is the most visited German Solar-Portal. "
  • Solar Energy | SEIA - Solar Energy Industries Association "Established in 1974, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. Through advocacy and education, SEIA is working to build a strong solar industry to power America. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to make solar a mainstream and significant energy source by expanding markets, removing market barriers, strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy. SEIA is a 501 c (6) non-profit association. A separate 501 c(3) called The Solar Foundation oversees policy-driven research and develops education outreach programs to promote positive policy and further deployment of solar energy in the U.S. "
  • Solar Energy - Information about Solar Power & Renewable Energy “We recently launched the independent website '', which provides free information about solar power and solar water heating for our users. For example, we have developed an innovative solar power calculator which - and this is unique in the US - takes into account precise solar intensity on a ZIP code level. Have a look if you like! Our main goal is to inform about green energy and support the distribution of eco-friendly, renewable energies by putting interested people in contact with qualified installers. We inform about topics like incentives, profitability and installation of solar systems and keep track with new developments. Our service is completely free for our visitors.”

  • Go Solar New York | Environment New York "We can tap the virtually limitless energy from the sun to heat and light our homes, businesses, farms and schools. Solar will create jobs here in New York and keep energy dollars in our local economies, while reducing our global warming pollution. Our staff and members are working to help New York go solar by passing the New York Solar Jobs Act, the most ambitious solar power program in state history. "-from Environment New York

  • The Vote Solar Initiative "Vote Solar is a non-profit grassroots organization working to fight climate change and foster economic opportunity by bringing solar energy into the mainstream. Since 2002, Vote Solar has engaged in state, local and federal advocacy campaigns to remove regulatory barriers and implement key policies needed to bring solar to scale. America’s energy problems — from reliability issues to global climate change — will only be solved by a national transition to renewables. Clean, homegrown, reliable solar energy is ready to play a large part of the solution. It is the fastest growing energy source in the world, but we have still just scratched the surface of solar’s vast energy potential. "