Solar Expansion

Solar is poised to expand on public lands. Remarkably, the first solar energy project on public lands wasn’t approved until 2010. Before then, energy development on our public lands was limited to coal, oil and gas extraction, adding to the greenhouse gas emissions that fuel climate change. 

Since then, the Bureau of Land Management has approved over 11,000 megawatts of solar, wind and geothermal projects in the western United States, and is currently looking to expand solar in particular. 

Earlier plans were to locate solar in six southwestern states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah), but other states may be added. While the BLM establishes zones for solar projects based on access to transmission, solar energy potential and protecting natural and cultural resources, environmentalists caution that large renewable energy projects can disrupt wildlife habitats and harm wildlands if they’re not built in the right places. 

The Wilderness Society has mapped the renewable energy projects the BLM has approved on our public lands to date, and offers insight into a ‘smart from the start’ approach to developing energy on public lands. SEE MAP

Can Santa land?

Can Santa land on solar panels?

The short answer, YES! Solar panels can handle it.

The long answer, YES! According to Long Island’s solar experts Built Well Solar, solar panels have been engineered to easily withstand the weight of Santa and his sleigh and his reindeer… even if the jolly ol’ guy eats a ton of cookies this year! 

“Santa has landed on the rooftops of our thousands of solar customers with no problem for the past 20 years, we’re happy to report,” said Built Well Solar founder Dan Sabia.

Another question that comes up — do reindeer hoofs scratch solar panels? No they do not. Some say they’ve spied the reindeer wearing special padded booties.  Others say it’s just plain magic.

And, remember, Santa — like most everyone who lives at the North Pole — is a huge environmentalist, since slowing climate change will keep the icecaps at the North Pole from further melting, so he’s know to be very pro-solar.

Celebrating 20+ years as Long Island’s solar pioneer, Bellmore-based Built Well Solar has been capturing the power of the sun since 2001.The company has designed and installed more solar energy systems on Long Island than most other companies combined and is known for top-quality installations and personalized customer service. 

Environmental Vote

Environmental Bond Act is on November’s ballot in New York State — officially the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Act.

A major piece of environmental legislation will be on the ballot in New York State as Proposition 1 this election day, Tuesday, November 8th.  The bill is officially called the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act of 2022.

This proposal would authorize $4.2 billion in New York State bonds for specific environment-related projects, including improving stormwater systems and wastewater infrastructure, zero-emissions school buses and climate mitigation such as wetland protection, open space and flood risk reduction.

This would be the first environmental bond act enacted for 26 years in New York, according to independent policy think tank Rockefeller Institute of Government.

Proponents of the bond act, including the New York State AFL-CIO, have pointed to the need to preserve and protect our natural resources and to create jobs. 

Read the full proposal.

Yay! 30% is Back!

It’s official! The 30% Solar Federal Tax Credit is back!

BIG NEWS FOR SOLAR! The $370 billion Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 just signed by the President immediately increases the current 26% solar federal tax credit to 30% of the cost of installed solar equipment. This applies to residential and small commercial projects placed in service in 2022 through 2032 —an extension without phase-down for a steadfast 10 years! The law calls for a step down much later on to 26% in 2033 and 22% in 2034. 

Keep in mind also that in New York State, there continues to be a residential state tax credit of 25% of cost, capped at $5,000, on top of any federal incentives.

The new law also includes up to $30 billion in incentives for U.S. companies to manufacture solar panels, wind turbines, and batteries. The solar energy industry has been clamoring “made in America” incentives for years.

This sweeping legislation addresses energy security and climate change by including renewable energy and climate measures, including incentives for solar storage and electric vehicles, all of which are expected to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030. 


30% Solar Tax Credit

Major News! The 30% Federal Solar Tax Credit May Be Back…

In the midst of a summer of record heat and other extreme weather events, the big news is Congress is poised to pass sweeping legislation that addresses energy security and climate change. The $370 billion reconciliation bill, called the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, includes several renewable energy and climate measures expected to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030. 

Great news for solar energy in particular, the bill calls for the current 26% federal Investment Tax Credit to increase to 30% of the cost of installed solar equipment for projects placed in service in 2022 through 2032 —an extension without phase-down for a steadfast 10 years! It would then step down to 26% in 2033 and 22% in 2034. 

The bill also includes up to $30 billion in incentives for U.S. companies to manufacture solar panels, wind turbines, and batteries. It is expected to head to the Senate floor for a vote in early August. Fingers crossed!


Healthiest Counties…

A dozen New York counties are among the Healthiest Communities in 2022! Where do Nassau and Suffolk rank? 

Nassau & Suffolk Among Healthiest Counties in U.S.

A dozen New York counties are among the Healthiest Communities in 2022, including Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island, according to a recent ranking by U.S. News & World Report. Nassau County ranked 98 and Suffolk County ranked 342 out of the 500 in the national list. 

U.S. News looked at nearly 3,000 counties to rank how they performed in 89 metrics across 10 health-related categories, including an environmental category new to this year’s list. The new category was included to help account for the growing threat of climate change in accordance with the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics, a policy advisory board to the head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The fifth annual report highlights the healthiest counties throughout the country. 

Click HERE for details about Nassau County’s various rankings.

Click HERE for details about Suffolk County’s various rankings.

For more about the survey in general and its various categories, in addition to the environment, such as housing, food and nutrition, education, community vitality and infrastructure, READ MORE.

The Great Solar Race!

Ladies and gentlemen, no need to start your engines! Your cars are solar-powered! This summer, cheer them on in the great American solar

car race! Everyone’s invited to cheer on college teams from throughout the U.S. competing to design, build and drive solar-powered cars. Begun in 1990 and officially called the American Solar Challenge — previously known as the Sunrayce — this solar car race runs over multiple days and travels over a 1,500-2,000-mile course between multiple cities across America, this year following the Oregon National Historic Trail. 

It all kicks off on July 1st where teams undergo “scrutineering” inspections of either single-occupant vehicles or multi-occupant vehicles. Cars that pass the test then move on to the Formula Sun Grand Prix track race and must finish several qualifying laps at Heartland Motorsports Park in Topeka, KS. 

Teams that make it this far prove their solar cars ready for the cross-country journey, which presents a whole new set of challenges, with a mix of city and highway driving on public roads under varying conditions intended to test the reliability and endurance of each solar car and its team. MORE DETAILS HERE

$105 B in Clean Energy

U.S. Clean Energy Draws Record $105 Billion in Private Investment

U.S. clean energy drew a record $105 billion in private Investment in 2021. That’s a record 11% jump since 2020 and a whopping 70% surge over the past five years, according to Bloomberg’s BNEF, the firm’s energy data and analysis unit.

This represents 14% of the total $755 billion in global private investment made last year, $47 billion of which was for renewable energy and $35 billion for electrified transport, according to the report, 2022 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook.

“Clearly there’s investor enthusiasm and we foresee further growth, but if you want to actually address climate change, you need to get to levels that at least double deployment,” said Ethan Zindler, an analyst at BNEF,“What is needed is more support.”

Read the full report, 2022 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook

Allergies Worse? Climate Change Might Be to Blame

If you feel that your seasonal allergies are more severe and lasting longer in recent years, you might be right. A new research study says climate change is to blame. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) researchers found that pollen seasons in North America lengthened by 20 days and contained 21% more pollen, on average, since 1990. 

The NAS analysis’ key findings: 

·       Pollen seasons grew by 20 days and had 21% more pollen over the last 40 years.

·       Rising temperatures appear to be the most significant factor driving the change.

·       More severe pollen seasons are linked to worse outcomes for people with asthma and allergies.

Further, the latest study by University of Michigan researchers found that the U.S. will face up to a 200% increase in total pollen this century if the world continues producing carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles, power plants and other sources at a high rate. Pollen season in general will start up to 40 days earlier in the spring and last up to 19 days longer than today under that scenario. 

This study not only looked at pollen overall, but also considered the impact of warming winters on more than a dozen different types of grasses and trees such as alder, birch and oak. Seasonal allergies affect about 30% of the population, and they have economic impacts, from health costs to missed workdays.  READ MORE

Recyclable Solar Panels?

While many individual components of a solar panel can be recycled, the ultimate environmentally friendly goal is to make the process circular, which means old solar components could be processed to be used in the manufacture of new solar components. One way to keep solar panels out of landfills is through panel reuse, either by direct reuse or after refurbishment, affording a second life generating clean energy at a different location. Another is recycling individual materials including glass (75% of a panel’s makeup), the aluminum frame, copper wire, and the plastic junction box. Other materials such as silver, internal copper, possible lead or cadmium are not easily recyclable, and are poor candidates for landfills. The good news is that researchers are hard at work seeking to create fully recyclable solar modules. A team in Germany announced recently that it had produced solar cells from 100% recycled silicon. Another team in the Netherlands is developing a full-size, recyclable solar module which they claim enables complete recycling without com-promising its current useful life. For more information, click here.