In his State of the State Address, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced an expansion of New York State’s NY-Sun Initiative for solar energy, funding it with an additional $150 million per year over the next 10 years. The governor also announced plans to create a $1 billion green bank, as well as his appointment of Richard Kauffman as New York’s chairman for energy policy and finance.

Launched last year, NY-Sun is intended to help quadruple the amount of customer-sited solar in New York. This initiative is aimed at providing additional certainty to solar developers, attracting significant private investment in solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, enabling the sustainable development of a robust solar power industry in New York, creating additional quality jobs, improving the reliability of the electric grid, and reducing air pollution.

“Today’s announcement shows New York State is making tremendous strides in its commitment to expanding solar deployment and growing its clean energy economy,” said Carrie Cullen Hitt, senior VP for state affairs at SEIA. “We applaud Governor Cuomo for advancing policies that promote clean energy innovation, create jobs, protect the environment, and help ensure our nation’s energy security and independence. The NY-Sun Initiative has put New York State at the forefront of new solar deployment, creating clean economy jobs while containing energy costs for consumers. This expansion of the NY-Sun Initiative, the creation of a $1 billion green bank, as well as the appointment of former Department of Energy official Richard Kauffman as New York State’s chairman for energy policy and finance, will ensure that solar becomes an increasingly significant component in New York’s energy portfolio while supporting solar’s affordability for more New York State families and businesses. We look forward to working with the governor and the legislature to move this initiative forward.”

Since 2008, the amount of solar powering U.S. homes, businesses, and military bases has grown by more than 500% — from 1,100MW to more than 6,400MW today, which is enough to power more than one million average American households. Solar is the fastest-growing and most affordable, accessible, and reliable clean energy technology available today. America’s solar industry now employs more than 119,000 workers at 5,600 companies — most of which are small businesses spread across every state in the union.

New York State is currently ranked 12th among states in terms of installed solar capacity, according to the latest U.S. Solar Market Insight report. There are approximately 3,300 solar professionals working at 338 companies in New York.