Assemblyman Joe Lentol announced earlier this month that he would “actively advocate” for alternative energy solutions for New York State. The legislator recently sponsored the Solar Industry and Development Jobs Act to create sustainable jobs, produce clean, renewable energy, and reduce the long-term costs of electricity generation for New York’s energy consumers. He also voted in favor of a bill, later signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo, to provide tax credits to residents who install solar panels on their homes. To incentivize business owners to do the same, the State waived the 4 percent sales tax on the sale and installation of commercial solar energy system equipment. Solar panels help local businesses save money on their energy bills, create more green jobs and protect our environment.
“In light of Superstorm Sandy, the topic of climate change has once again been brought to the forefront,” Lentol said. “We must find ways to curb our greenhouse gas emissions. Utilizing tax credits is a step in the right direction.”
Lentol noted that North Brooklyn’s low level buildings and expansive rooftops are well suited for solar panels and offer unobstructed access to the sun’s rays. “What better place to use solar panel technology than right here in North Brooklyn?” he asked, pointing out that many businesses and residents have already made the initial investment.
In addition to those favorable conditions, the neighborhood’s zoning allows for the possibility of a “full circle business cycle.” North Brooklyn has the manufacturing zones to promote this type of production, explained Lentol. Creating an industry for the manufacture, sale and use of solar panels in North Brooklyn could lead to a new self-sustaining industry within the neighborhood. Currently the manufacturing of solar panels is primarily done outside the United States.
Although a solar technology industry in North Brooklyn may take years to become reality, there are many examples of solar power being used within the area.
“Broadway Stages’ deployment of solar panel arrays covering the entire footprint of their sound studios is rather impressive,” Lentol pointed out. “They clearly understand the importance of alternative energy and I am proud to have businesses in my district who are leading the way in preserving the future of our environment.” Studio G, a successful recording studio, is another example of a local business embracing 21st century alternative energy.
“North Brooklyn has an opportunity to lead the way in solar technology, either through manufacturing or application,” said Lentol. “If we can find ways, through legislation, to make solar energy more affordable, we can create new jobs and help protect the environment, while saving people hundreds or even thousands of dollars on energy costs.” In addition, Lentol expects the further development of solar technology will make it more affordable and result in wider use.
Cuomo also recently announced the formation of an Energy Policy and Finance Sub-Cabinet to improve coordination of the state’s energy policy and further the establishment of New York as the national leader in the clean energy economy, investing in energy infrastructure, solar power and an electric vehicle network. The Governor appointed Richard Kauffman as its Chair, which Lentol said “substantiates the state’s pledge to invest in energy infrastructure and provide solutions to the financial barriers that alternative energy poses.”