Tuesday, August 29, 2017

New solar power installations plummet on Long Island by Mark Harrington

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The number of new residential solar-power installations on Long Island so far in 2017 has declined by more than 50 percent compared with the period in 2016 as national companies have fled the market or retuned their businesses.

The number of residential solar installations declined to 2,975 for the first six months of this year, compared with 6,722 in the same period last year, according to figures from PSEG Long Island, which oversees the programs for LIPA. That’s a decline of 55 percent, after two prior years of triple-digit growth.

“It was a bubble,” said Mike Voltz, director of energy efficiency and renewables for PSEG. He blamed this year’s tumbling sales on a sharp drop-off in aggressive promotions by solar leasing companies, combined with a decision by the state in 2016 to end a popular LIPA solar rebate.

In addition, a state loan program upped its interest rates for most customers.

Nonetheless, Voltz said, “You’re now at a level where it’s more sustainable.” He noted that most of the business is being done by local companies that established the market over nearly two decades.

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