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Megawatts of solar capacity installed 2014

County numbers via this NYSERDA pdf. The counties are color coded according to five ascending groups of solar capacity -- the deeper the yellow, the more installed capacity.

Megawatts of solar capacity installed 2014, per capita

County capacity numbers via this NYSERDA pdf. Population numbers via the Census 2014 estimates. Per capita calculation by AOA. (Per capita maybe isn't the greatest measure here, but we wanted something to account for the fact that some areas have a lot of more people, and thus maybe are more likely to have solar capacity installed.)

Again, the counties are color coded according to five ascending groups of solar capacity -- the deeper the yellow, the higher the per capita capacity.

Solar continues to grow around New York

rooftop solar panels

More common.

The Capital Region had the second-highest amount of installed solar energy generation capacity in the state as of 2014, according to numbers released by the Cuomo admin Monday. The eight-county region had 51 megawatts of capacity -- up 500 percent since 2011. (The region with the highest total was Long Island, with 96 megawatts.)

For some perspective, a megawatt of installed solar is estimated to be capable of powering about 155 homes a year in New York State.

New York State has a whole had almost 315 megawatts of installed solar capacity as of 2014, according the Cuomo admin. That's up 300 percent since 2011.

A few individual Capital Region counties also ranked highly. Albany County had 13.66 megawatts of installed capacity -- the fifth-highest total among all counties. And Columbia County ranked #1 for installed capacity per capita.

Are there clickable maps? You know there are...

Maps

They're above in large format -- click or scroll all the way up.

Solar boom

The solar industry -- both large-scale and residential projects -- has been booming in the last few years as the price of solar panels has dropped sharply, government incentives have continued to help with the price, and new companies have options such as leasing.

Here's a link to the New York State's solar incentive program.

Also, as mentioned, there are some cooperatives here in the Capital Region that are helping homeowners buy solar systems.

Big picture

Even with the boom in solar, New York State still gets a very large majority of its electricity from natural gas, nuclear, and hydroelectric.

NYS electricity generation 2015-March
graph via US EIA

How small a slice is solar of the pie right now in New York State? Through first four months of this year, about 44.2 million megawatt hours of electricity had been produced in New York -- just 28,000 from solar... that's .06 percent. (Numbers from the federal Energy Information Administration)

But that's up almost 25 percent compared to the same period last year.

So, if this is some sort of longterm shift toward solar, it's the very beginning of the trend. And it could be very interesting. There's the potential to produce electricity with much less of a carbon footprint, of course. But the widespread adoption of solar -- on houses, on buildings, on solar farms on actual farms, wherever -- along with the rollout of large batteries for homes (like the one Tesla is making) points to a future in which power generation is much more distributed than it is now. And that could shake up the utility picture considerably as traditional power suppliers face potentially large decreases in demand (yet still have to support much of the grid infrastructure).

So the future on this front could be a lot different than now.

New York State county by county

Earlier

+ How New York State generates electricity

+ Our time in the sun

+ Residential rooftop solar options?

Comments

Don't believe the hype. Until we get to the next level of performance, the PVs installed on rooftops and as unsightly ground barriers are just a novelty that snake oil salesmen are hawking. Schools, municipal buildings and large consumers of electricity still get a better discounted rate from National Grid than they could ever achieve through solar integration, and after all, it is the economic driver that is going be the catalyst to a paradigm shift in energy production, not the good feeling we get by reducing our carbon footprint.

Increase R&D funding and tax subsidies. Until then, enjoy your soon to be obsolete solar panels. At least they can heat the pool pretty well...

special thanks to the not-for-profit and volunteer SOLARIZIE groups for their educational and group-purchase efforts!

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