A group of state environmental advocates and union leaders today called for an increase in the amount of solar power jobs in the state, Gannett’s Aaron Scholder reports.
The partnership, which is calling itself the New York Solar Jobs Coalition, said they believe that the creation of solar power-related jobs can help the state’s economy and the environment at the same time.
“The potential for thousands of jobs in this type of industry using this technology makes it a must for New Yorkers,” said Denis Hughes, the president of New York State AFL-CIO. “These jobs and the investment in solar power would create the right type of jobs for New York – jobs that don’t leave to go overseas.”
The coalition called for applying labor protection laws to the installation of solar panels, which they believe will help grow green jobs in the state.
On a conference call Tuesday, the coalition called for the addition of 5,000 megawatts of solar power in the state.
“New York has made great strides towards building a clean-energy economy but we have definitely fallen behind other states, especially with solar energy,” said Pierre Bull, a policy analyst for the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Bull said the increase of 5,000 megawatts would account for 3 percent of the state’s power supply and would equate to 2.7 million cars being taken off the road.
The group said they would like the inclusion of a prevailing wage law to make the jobs more attractive for workers.
“We want to be able to do this work in a way that is efficient, cost-efficient and that we attract the people with the highest skills,” Hughes said.
Ed Malloy, the president of the New York State Building and Construction Trades Councils, said that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has shown support for legislation that would increase solar power.
“The track record they have in Albany now is getting things done,” Malloy said. “I think we’re optimistic that if it’s worthwhile for them to take a look at something that it’s possible that they could get it done.”
The coalition said they hope to build off progress they made with legislators over the past year when the session begins in January.