Mark Ruffalo goes solar -- and wants New York State to join him

Above: A video featuring actor Mark Ruffalo advocating for the New York Solar Jobs Act (S.4718/A.5173).

Actor Mark Ruffalo is known around the world for his recent role as The Hulk in "The Avengers" -- and locally, for his crusade against hydrofracking. Callicoon's most famous denizen is now on a new campaign in the battle against fossil fuels: The fight to make solar power a major energy source for New York State.

Ruffalo recently began campaiging for the New York Solar Jobs Act. If passed, the bill would mandate utility companies to buy solar energy credits, pumping a multi-billion dollar investment into the state's small but growing solar energy industry. Utility companies are opposing the bill, claiming that it would increase consumer energy costs, but a recent poll found that most New Yorker voters support it.

Ruffalo is also putting his money where his mouth is. This week's Sullivan County Democrat features a Q&A with the actor about his own new home solar energy installation, which Ruffalo said cost him $9,003.08 to lease from a company called Sungevity.

Ruffalo told the Democrat that solar power is becoming more affordable for the average homeowner:

Q: Would you recommend this to others, and if so, do you have suggestions on how people of middle and low incomes can afford such?

The reason I got this system was because I didn’t want to shell out $40,000 right off the top. I wanted to show to people what was possible. Soon we will be able to do community solar, where the community can choose to have its own solar farm. It would pay for itself through our collective use of the system. The cost is defrayed over the entire community. This is being done in California and parts of NY. This would be very cheap to do and employ quite a few people.

Until then, we have leasing. Sungevity has a zero-percent-down lease option, no money out of pocket. Middle-income customers can now afford solar power.