State of New York promoting green energy with new law

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed a law that will provide low cost loans for installing green energy sources in both residential and commercial applications.

Program applicants receive free or reduced-price energy audits to determine the most cost-effective green energy technologies for their home or business. They can then take out small low-cost loans from the state that they pay back through their utility bill.

Homeowners could receive up to $25,000 in loans that they then back over five to fifteen years at a 3.5 percent interest rate. The loans are administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

The program, which aims to allow property owners to “spin the meter backwards,” is another aspect of the state’s efforts to increase the proliferation of green technologies. It goes further than earlier efforts by pushing for alternative and green energy generation rather than focusing on energy-saving efforts like improving insulation.

Where earlier efforts largely focused on more modest methods of bringing down energy costs like weather stripping and insulation, the new law is designed to expand the use of more significant technologies like solar photovoltaics, wind turbines, hydro-electric generators and fuel cells. All of those alternative energy sources have significant up-front costs that the new program aims to reduce.

“It will open up the door to a lot of homeowners,” said Conor Bambrick, air and energy director at Environmental Advocates, a statewide environmental advocacy organization. “They're scared off by the sticker shock of it.”

NYSERDA issued $24.3 million in bonds in August, which is where the funding for this initiative, and others, will come from as part of the Green Jobs - Green New York program.

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