New York hopes to quadruple solar power usage

Jan 16, 2012

Governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing that New York State quadruple the amount of solar energy it uses for power in the next year.  

The New York Sun initiative would tap an energy source that's got great potential according to SUNY E-S-F President Neil Murphy.

“The sun puts on this earth in one hour enough energy to power all of the world’s needs for a year,” said Murphy.

He says the technology around solar energy has evolved, making it a more cost effective source of energy in recent years using what are called Photo-voltaic systems.

“You get a transfer of electrons and you have a circuit. The electrons move in the circuit and by those electrons moving, you’re creating power,” he said.

At the ESF campus in Syracuse, this technology accounts for 8% of the school's energy needs.  Murphy figures it ultimately could provide 10% of the total power grid across the county if harnessed properly. And don't think because of all the cloud cover here in Central New York, we can't harness the sun's rays.

"I personally watched one of our systems during a snowstorm," said Murphy.  "The system only dropped off to zero, when the snow actually accumulated on the top of the  p-v collector.  So we know it works here in Central New York."

The governor's includes encouraging development of large scale solar farms, and rebate programs for residential and commercial customer who use the technology.