More New York homeowners than ever want to put solar panels on their houses.

That should be good news for the 174 contractors registered with the state to install solar photovoltaic systems. But the demand has put such a strain on subsidies for residential solar that the state has reduced the amount offered, hoping to make a dwindling pot of money last through the end of the year.

A new round of funding for 2010 and beyond has not yet been approved, and that leaves solar power installers hanging. They can’t sign up customers until they know what the subsidy will be. And without customers, an emerging industry employing between 800 and 1,000 people statewide can’t create more “green-collar” jobs.

“We could easily hire another person if the right incentives were in place,” said Duncan Cooper, director of sales for Renovus Energy Inc. in Ithaca, an installer of renewable energy systems that employs seven. “We just don’t know where we’re going to be in the next few months.”

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