Community Solar Comes to New York

by Pamela Berns

According to Dennis Phayre of EnterSolar, even if we utilized all currently available sources, we’d only have about 100 years of energy left on the planet. But New York State isn’t waiting one more second to embark on innovative partnerships that will not only extend that timeframe but also significantly reduce the State’s carbon footprint.

On June 15, at the host offices of the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA), GreenHomeNYC introduced three key players in these new collaborations for an instructive and exciting program about community solar. Community solar brings together customers, utilities, solar companies, and the state government to develop an interconnected approach to electrical power that will not only impact the way in which we create and move energy, but also the way in which consumers participate in the energy marketplace.


Max Joel is a Program Manager for Community Solar NY, a part of the NY-Sun Initiative, a statewide solar initiative whose goal is to expand the deployment of solar capacity throughout the state to build a self-sustaining solar market. NY-Sun is one of several programs within NYSERDA aimed at realizing the state’s energy efficiency and sustainability goals. Alison Kling is a Senior Specialist in the Distributed Generation group at Con Edison, where she focuses on solar customer communications, process improvements, and long-term policy changes for interconnection. Dennis Phayre is Business Development Director at EnterSolar, and is focused on PV project origination, site assessment, incentive and financial analysis, and proposal delivery.

According to Joel, the NY-Sun program reports that growth in the solar business in New York State is unprecedented, having increased 575% from 2012 to 2015. The number of megawatts installed (525) is already enough to power nearly 85,000 homes. New York State’s Reform the Energy Vision (REV) program is “Governor Cuomo’s strategy to build a clean, resilient and affordable energy system,” and community solar is becoming an integral feature. It is made possible by taking advantage of a proposed new net metering structure to allow “any utility customer to be a subscribing member, and receive credit on their bill” for power sent back to the grid, said Joel. This means that solar can be developed in one section of the city, be it a large roof or an abandoned field, and sold back into the grid to be used by others on that same grid. Plus, said Kling, “New York City is a very renter oriented real estate market. This is a way to help make renters a part of it.” According to Joel, shared solar also enables building owners to increase income by leasing roof space and diversifying their income streams.

The Role of the Grid


As Joel so aptly points out, “Just because you have solar doesn’t mean the grid goes away. You can’t do it without the grid.” Here’s how it works: Any utility customer within a single utility and NY-ISO zone may be a member of a project. Each individual member’s share of the energy production appears as a credit on their monthly utility bill. The solar meterproject or farm is installed at a remote site, and the utility manages the distribution of energy on the grid. In a nutshell, according to Kling, the utility’s role in solar interconnections is to maintain grid safety and reliability for all customers, install net meters, implement subsequent billing, and integrate Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) into load planning and forecasts. Each project also has a sponsor who owns or operates the project, organizes the membership, and interfaces with the utility. A sponsor may be the project developer, a private company, or other entity. Its role is to provide the utility with a list of members and their percent allocation of the credits prior to interconnection, and then to recruit, manage and track membership in the ongoing concern.

To help the audience understand how the grid fits into the process, Kling explained the basics of how Con Ed’s grid works. The Con Ed grid, which supplies electricity to Westchester County as well as the five boroughs, leverages 83 underground service grids to support a mesh network of systems that support “built in redundancy and reliability.” As a result, outages in one part of the system are addressed by checks and balances in another, which enables power to be delivered to customers seamlessly and uninterrupted. But the system also contains network protectors against the backward flow of electricity, which made sense before small scale, on-site power generation was introduced into the mix. The problem is that when solar flows into the system in a “backward” direction, the system “thinks” something is wrong and shuts down, says Kling. To enable community solar, she says, the utility “comes in and puts in new meters that go backward and forward. That’s when the magic happens.” She says Con Ed is responsible for ensuring that solar is “integrated in the best way,” and enabling solar power to “export into our system.”

Planting the First New York State Community Solar Farm

EnterSolar is currently constructing the first community solar project in New York State at a site in Halfmoon, NY, located in Upstate New York. The array will feed solar energy to the grid operated by New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG), and will allow more than 100 residential customers, including low-income residents, to participate in community shared solar. Until now, the company has focused its projects on businesses, and boasts Bloomberg and Target as two of its biggest customers.


According to Phayre, the remote net metered Bloomberg project brings solar credits to two Bloomberg buildings in Manhattan from an installation at a site near JFK airport; the credits are utilized in the Manhattan buildings and “transferred to facilities elsewhere.” Likewise, says Phayre, “community solar lets us take solar from one source and distribute it to hundreds of others,” and sees it as a “large-scale” business proposition that equals that of the Bloomberg project. He noted that a project the size of the Bloomberg system could power as many as 250 residences.

An existing EnterSolar remote net metering site in Halfmoon, NY supplies power to seventeen Stewart’s Shops in the region, and serves as a model for the community solar project. As he projected a slide of the Stewart’s solar farm in Halfmoon, Phayre pointed out the importance of choosing land responsibly. “This was a hayfield before we built the solar farm on it, so the impact on the land is not great. It’s an eco-friendly installation…it almost looks like an apple orchard.”

Systems Thinking in Energy

In the complex web of the renewables marketplace, utilities, solar companies, sponsors, and customers are joined by additional stakeholders and technologies. “Net metering [alone] doesn’t create a smart grid,” Phayre reminded the audience. “Regulations are critical for creating markets.” Tax incentives also feed the machine, and at the time of this writing, the two-year extension of New York City’s solar property tax credit was eagerly awaiting signature in Albany.

In response to an audience question about the roles of micro-grids, battery storage, and energy efficiency, all three speakers agreed that ultimately there will be a place for all of these. “If you can reduce the use of energy, that’s the biggest win of all,” said Phayre. And while energy efficiency is not obligated for membership in the community solar program, “it will become a big business opportunity.” Phayre sees community solar as the “democratization of solar,” and he also emphasized business pragmatism as a key driver in the whole process. After all, “if you’re going to spend money, you want that money to be well-spent.”

Triacta July 7, 2016 Webinar

With the groundbreaking Local Law 88 on the books, New York City building professionals will need to be aware of the best submetering options available. Join the Triacta Power Solutions webinar to learn more about their advanced multi-point submetering solutions for energy management and tenant billing.

Some of the questions that will be covered:

How is submetering the bridge between Building Automation and the Internet of Things?

How can you manage a large amount of metering points and deliver both billing and energy management?

How can you offer Value added services off of a metering platform such as the PowerHawk?

How can the cloud play a role?

How can you stay open to other solutions?

About Triacta Power Solutions

Triacta Power Solutions designs and manufactures high-end, revenue grade energy management meters for multi-unit commercial, institutional and residential applications.

Every Triacta meter comes complete with leading edge software that combines meter management, automated data collection, powerful analysis tools and flexible billing capabilities — everything you need to create and manage your metering infrastructure.

Triacta’s hardware and software make it possible to monitor hundreds of meter points within a facility in real-time. Triacta’s meters can be integrated with existing building management and automation systems or used on their own to form a metering fabric for part of a building, an entire building, or a complete real estate portfolio.

Triacta’s solutions can be as simple or as sophisticated as required — simply and elegantly providing energy control and cost management information to property owners, managers and other stakeholders.

Long known for its high-reliability, revenue-grade, multi-protocol submetering products, Triacta’s meters have been easily and successfully deployed by submetering companies, property owners, building system integrators, and Local Distribution Companies since 2003.

Join our webinar to learn more about today’s new submetering solutions.

New Efficient Energy Storage System Extracts Energy from Thin Air

May 3, 2016 – The gap between electricity generation and use could be narrowed with an Oak Ridge National Laboratory system that extracts energy from thin air. Actually, Ground-Level Integrated Diverse Energy Storage, or GLIDES, stores electricity mechanically in the form of compressed gas that displaces water in high-pressure vessels described by co-inventor Wale Odukomaiya as the heart of the system.


The GLIDES approach has the potential to change the way energy is stored.

He noted that GLIDES overcomes the site limitations of pumped storage hydroelectricity and compressed air energy, and the higher cost of batteries. Compared to these conventional energy storage systems, GLIDES also features near constant-temperature processes, higher efficiency and more flexible scalability. In addition, the system uses the world’s smallest Pelton turbine, which extracts energy from the impulse of moving water, manufactured at ORNL’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility.


To arrange for an interview with a researcher, please contact the Communications staff member identified at the end of each tip. For more information on ORNL and its research and development activities, please refer to one of our media contacts. If you have a general media-related question or comment, you can send it to

CCAs Will Power Community Solar, Storage & Microgrids

On April 28, 2016 elected & state officials, environmental leaders, business people and engaged citizens met to celebrate the launch of New York’s first Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) program and the announcement by keynote speaker Audrey Zibelman (left), Public Service Commissioner, that CCA will become a statewide program.

CCA is a state policy that enables municipalities to aggregate electricity demand and buy power in bulk on behalf of their community with the intent to procure alternative energy supplies while maintaining the existing electricity provider for transmission and distribution services.


Sustainable Westchester (SW) has been granted approval by the NYS Public Service Commission to implement the CCA program called Westchester Power.  Approximately 110,000 residents and small businesses in Westchester municipalities will see lower electricity costs with 14 of the 20 participating towns selecting 100% renewable energy as their default energy supply.


SW has been working to bring CCA to New York for over four years. Mike Gordon (right), co-chair of Sustainable Westchester and CEO of Joule Assets, led the NY CCA effort, and was also responsible for drafting all statewide and local CCA legislation.

CCAs can be the catalyst propelling wider distributed energy resources (DER) use by tapping into the existing community-base to integrate Community Solar, Community Storage, and ultimately Community Microgrids. Communities taking control of their power options was a central theme of the event, with the quote of the day:

“We (the community) are the ultimate DERs”

For Westchester County, producing electricity locally also translates into jobs that would otherwise go to out of state companies. Sustainable Westchester also plans to participate in Community Demand Response programs, generating revenues for its members and providing relief to the grid with hardware like smart thermostats.

The Power Up for Clean Energy New York was produced by the Bedford 2020 and the panelists (pictured below from left to right) were:

  • Mike Gordon, Sustainable Westchester, Joule Assets
  • Kate Burson, Tesla Motors
  • Micah Kotch, NY Prize, NYSERDA
  • David Sandbank, NY-Sun, NYSERDA
  • Glenn Weinberg, Westchester Power, Joule Assets


  • Karl Rábago, Pace Energy and Climate Center


Solar Power Leads NYCHA’s New Sustainability Agenda

On Earth Day 2016, The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) released the “First-ever Comprehensive Sustainability Agenda for Healthy & Energy-Efficient Public Housing“. NYCHA is the nation’s largest residential landlord, providing permanently affordable housing to more than 400,000 low-income New Yorkers, many of whom would be homeless without public housing.

One of the  key components of authority’s ten-year sustainability roadmap is solar power installations.  NYCHA is pledging to generate 25 megawatts of power from solar panels by 2025. There will be 2.5 million square feet of panels. The Wall Street Journal says that’s enough to cover Washington Square Park. It would be enough to power 6,600 apartments.

NYCHA Sustainability Agenda Goal 1:

Achieve short-term financial stability and diversify funding for the long term

Attract investment for capital improvements:
 NYCHA will attract $300 million in private capital to fund large-scale retrofits through Energy Performance Contracts, and tap energy-efficiency incentive programs to reduce the capital needs of scattered-site developments by $30 million.

Raise revenues through clean and distributed energy projects:
NYCHA will develop a pipeline of commercial-scale solar projects for third-party solar developers, part of a joint initiative from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Energy called Renew300. NYCHA will also develop a resilient microgrid and district energy system at Red Hook East and West Houses and support the City in identifying other opportunities for community-scale clean and distributed energy systems.

Focusing on resident health and comfort, and working hand-in-hand with sister agencies and community partners, NYCHA aims to achieve the following by 2025:

  • Eliminate the root causes of mold by fixing leaks in roofs, façades, and pipes and modernizing ventilation systems.
  • Eliminate overheating and unplanned heat and hot water outages.
  • Start on the path to meeting the City’s goal of reducing greenhouse gases
    80 percent by 2050.
  • Address climate adaptation and resiliency in all capital planning.
  • Incorporate sustainability into day-to-day management of all properties.

NYCHA Sustainability Agenda Downloads:

NYC Launches Solarize NYC!

Today (Earth Day 2016) Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office announced Solarize NYC, a new solar incentive program. The new Solarize NYC program will allow communities — including neighborhoods, business districts and houses of worship among other affiliations— to join together to form single purchasing groups. This benefits communities by giving them greater buying power than individual entities, while encouraging solar developers to build out capacity and sell power to community groups. Groups can apply through a new website,


Solarize NYC is a core component of New York City’s strategy to expand access to clean, reliable, and affordable solar power for all New Yorkers. Through One City: Built to Last, the City of New York funded the NYC Solar Partnership to continue its work to reduce market barriers for solar, attract more solar energy companies to the city, and increase the city’s installed solar capacity.

In addition to supporting the City’s goal of installing 250 MW of solar capacity on private property by 2025, Solarize NYC’s mission is to reduce barriers for communities that have historically had limited access to solar by providing informational resources and offering discounted pricing. Further, Solarize NYC supports the local solar industry by stimulating demand for local installers and reducing customer acquisition costs by aggregating customers.

What is Solarize?

Solarize is a short-term, local, community-led initiative that brings together groups of potential solar customers through widespread outreach and education. The Solarize model helps customers choose a solar installation company or companies that offer competitive, transparent pricing. Solarize programs leverage community purchasing to bring down the installed cost of solar for all participants. The traditional solarize model has three hallmarks:

  1. Competitive installer selection
  2. Community-led outreach and education
  3. Limited-time offer

Solarize campaigns reduce prices through competition, lower customer acquisition costs, and achieving economies of scale. Numerous variations on the Solarize model have emerged to allow room for creativity and innovation at a community-level.

What is a ‘Community’?

You tell us! Community applicants will have the opportunity to tell the NYC Solar Partnership how their Community is defined, whether the boundaries are geographic or otherwise.

Apply to Solarize Your Community

Solarize NYC is designed to serve the needs of both NYC communities and solar installers. Interested communities can apply to the NYC Solar Partnership to participate in the program. Once selected, the NYC Solar Partnership will work alongside community members to design a Solarize NYC campaign that is tailored to the needs of their community. Based on the campaign design, solar installers will be selected. With the design in-place and solar installers on board, the campaign will launch, led by community volunteers with the support of the NYC Solar Partnership.

Visit Solarize NYC!

With the groundbreaking Local Law 88 on the books, New York City real estate and energy professionals will need to be aware of the best submetering options available. Join the Triacta Power Solutions webinar to learn more about their advanced multi-point submetering solutions for energy management and tenant billing.

Triacta Power Solutions designs and manufactures high-end, revenue grade energy management meters for multi-unit commercial, institutional and residential applications.

Every Triacta meter comes complete with leading edge software that combines meter management, automated data collection, powerful analysis tools and flexible billing capabilities — everything you need to create and manage your metering infrastructure.

Triacta’s hardware and software make it possible to monitor hundreds of meter points within a facility in real-time. Triacta’s meters can be integrated with existing building management and automation systems or used on their own to form a metering fabric for part of a building, an entire building, or a complete real estate portfolio.

Triacta’s solutions can be as simple or as sophisticated as required — simply and elegantly providing energy control and cost management information to property owners, managers and other stakeholders.

Long known for its high-reliability, revenue-grade, multi-protocol submetering products, Triacta’s meters have been easily and successfully deployed by submetering companies, property owners, building system integrators, and Local Distribution Companies since 2003.

Join our webinar to learn more about today’s new submetering solutions.

Little-Known Federal Appliance Standards Rank as #2 Energy-Saving Tool in U.S.

A Quiet Revolution: When Will the “Best Energy Efficiency and Climate Program You Never Heard Of” Get the Respect It Deserves in U.S. Energy and Climate Policy? Already Saving Enough Energy Annually to Power 1 Out of 3 Homes.

Apr 06, 2016, 13:08 ET from Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP), Boston

WASHINGTON, April 6, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Clean Power Plan, Paris Climate Treaty, vehicle fuel efficiency standards and Energy Star grab all of the headlines when it comes to saving energy and cutting carbon pollution, even as another cornerstone of U.S. energy and climate policy gets little recognition: appliance and equipment standards.

Data from the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP) show that a quiet revolution in U.S. appliance standards has resulted in the initiative holding the second largest energy efficiency policy spot in the nation – saving 5.3 quadrillion BTUs (quads) of energy in 2014, ahead of the better known Energy Star program, utility sector energy-efficiency programs, the impact of federal tax incentives, and other major national initiatives. Only corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards for cars and trucks at 7.3 quads saved more energy in 2014 than did appliance standards.

U.S. energy appliance standards also stack up strongly in several other contexts:

Paris Climate Treaty. In its commitments made as part of the recently completed Paris Climate Treaty process, the Obama Administration set its overall carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reduction goals at 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. The carbon emissions reductions from appliance standards already completed since 2007 will cover more than 11 percent of the Paris pledge for 2025.

Clean Power Plan. Annual carbon emission cuts in 2030 from standards completed since 2007 will reach about 220 million metric tons, or about one quarter of the emissions reductions expected from the administration’s Clean Power Plan, the Obama Administration’s highest profile action to reduce climate emissions.

Overall energy savings. Since President Ronald Reagan signed the original national appliance standards into law, savings from standards have grown to reach 13 percent of electricity consumption in 2015 and 4 percent of natural gas consumption. Because many more appliance standards are coming on line in the years ahead and existing standards have an increasing impact over time, the savings will swell to 20 percent of projected electricity consumption and 6 percent of projected gas usage by the year 2030. Already, the energy savings from appliance standards in the year 2015 were enough electricity to meet the needs of 43 million homes (i.e., more than one-third of current U.S. households) and the gas needs of about 10 million U.S. homes.

Upcoming appliance and equipment standards will mean even bigger savings. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has issued new standards for rooftop air conditioners and commercial warm air furnaces that will reduce energy use by 1.7 trillion kilowatt hours (kWh) over 30 years. To put that in perspective, that’s almost as much energy as is created by all the coal burned in the U.S. in a year to generate electricity.

Andrew deLaski, executive director, Appliance Standards Awareness Project, said: “Appliance standards are the ‘unsung hero’ of U.S. national energy and climate policy. From refrigerators to air conditioners, the Department of Energy’s appliance efficiency standards make major differences in nearly everyone’s life, covering products representing 90 percent of residential energy consumption and 60 percent of commercial consumption. The data make it very clear that we need to stay on track with a vibrant and robust appliance standards program in the coming years.”

Shannon Baker-Branstetter, policy counsel, energy and environment, Consumers Union, said: “Consumers Union views efficiency standards for appliances as a win-win for saving consumers money and reducing energy consumption and its environmental impacts. Raising the bar for efficiency of household products, with policies such as Energy Star and appliance efficiency standards, is one of the easiest and most effective ways to help consumers save money.”

Steve Nadel, executive director, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), said: “Efficiency standards can slip by unnoticed because consumers and businesses don’t recognize the significant contribution they make in reducing their energy use and utility bills. It’s important they and other energy-efficiency measures get the credit they deserve so these initiatives can keep going and remain a vital part of our national energy policy.”

National appliance standards are already saving the typical U.S. household about $500 per year on utility bills. Taking into account appliances and equipment sold through 2035, consumers and businesses will save more than $1.9 trillion thanks to standards already on the books today.

In 2015 alone, appliance standards helped the United States avoid emissions of 300 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), which is equivalent to the annual CO2 emissions from about 63 million automobiles.

California and other states started adopting minimum efficiency requirements for appliances and other energy-using equipment in the 1970s. The first federal appliance standards were enacted by Congress and signed into law by President Reagan in 1987. Over time, new laws signed by both Presidents Bush added additional product categories, and the DOE has periodically updated the standards. At present, more than 50 products are covered by federal standards, and state laws cover some additional items. The appliance and equipment standards cover products used in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors.

A quadrillion BTUs is equal to the energy output of eight billion gallons of gasoline or 36 million tons of coal or 970 billion cubic feet of natural gas.


ASAP ( organizes and leads a broad-based coalition effort that works to advance, win and defend new appliance, equipment and lighting standards which deliver large energy and water savings, monetary savings and environmental benefits. Working together, the ASAP coalition supports new and updated standards at the national and state levels through technical and policy advocacy and through outreach and education. ASAP was founded in 1999 by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), the Alliance to Save Energy, the Energy Foundation, and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

EDITOR’S NOTE: A streaming audio replay of this national news event will be available as of 4 p.m. EDT on April 6, 2016 at

Long Island Solar Market Grows 320% – Eliminates Need for Incentives

Significant growth in the Long Island residential solar market achieves NY-Sun target to create self-sustaining solar industry, eliminate the need for public incentives
Support for solar continues through tax credits, net metering, and affordable financing for underserved communities
April 19, 2016

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) today announced 320 percent growth in the residential solar market on Long Island since 2012. Due to this significant growth, the region’s residential market is now self-sufficient and able to function without public subsidies available through NY-Sun. Long Island is the first region in the state to meet its residential solar target, and will continue to receive assistance through tax credits, affordable financing for underserved communities, and other supporting regulations.

NY-Sun was designed to stimulate solar growth and build a self-sustaining solar industry across the state. NY-Sun’s MW Block Program divided the State into three geographic regions, each with incentives allocated based on the maturity of the market, and with the level of incentives declining over time as pre-set targets were met.

John B. Rhodes, President and CEO of NYSERDA, said, “The tremendous growth of solar on Long Island under Governor Cuomo’s NY-Sun initiative has greatly expanded the use of clean, sustainable energy in the region. Long Island’s solar industry is strong and actively serving the growing clean energy market, and we know this momentum will continue.”

The NY-Sun MW Block program is intended to respond to changing market conditions in a predictable and transparent manner, and to allow the solar market in each region to grow at its own pace. The strategy to decrease incentives over time as targets are met, with an understanding these incentives will eventually be eliminated, is based on the strength of the market’s ability to be self-sustaining.

Long Island’s NY-Sun Residential MW Block capacity was 139 MW over four residential blocks. The level of incentive in the region decreased from $0.50 per watt in block one, which opened Jan. 1, 2014, to $0.20 per watt in block four, which began April 24, 2015, with two intermediate steps in between.

Other financial incentives and programs supporting residential solar installations are still available to Long Island residents, including state and federal tax credits, Affordable Solar for low- to moderate-income households, and the Solarize North Hempstead and Solarize Southampton campaigns. Through net metering, solar customers may also reduce costs if a solar energy system produces more electricity than their home requires.

In addition, the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) Board recently approved community net metering, which will offer opportunities for solar developers to build large off-site projects that residents can buy into or lease portions of to reduce their energy bills, and on-bill financing is expected to be available to Long Island customers through PSEG Long Island this summer.

NY-Sun has accelerated the growth of solar across the State, with the amount of solar power installed and in development under the Governor’s NY-Sun initiative increasing 575 percent from 2012 through 2015. New York’s solar industry is the fourth largest in the nation and employs more than 8,250 workers, an increase of more than 3,000 jobs since 2013. In 2016, double-digit job growth is expected to continue with another 1,000 additional jobs created as a result of the state’s robust solar project pipeline.

About Reforming the Energy Vision

Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) is Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s strategy to lead on climate change and grow New York’s economy. REV is building a cleaner, more resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers by stimulating investment in clean technologies like solar, wind, and energy efficiency and generating 50% of the state’s electricity needs from renewable energy by 2030. Already, REV has driven 600% growth in the statewide solar market, enabled over 105,000 low-income households to permanently cut their energy bills with energy efficiency, and created thousands of jobs in manufacturing, engineering, and other clean tech sectors. REV is ensuring New York State reduces statewide greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030 and achieves the internationally-recognized target of reducing emissions 80% by 2050. To learn more about REV, including the Governor’s $5 billion investment in clean energy technology and innovation, please visit and follow us at @Rev4NY.


Peter Constantakes,
Phone : 518-862-1090, Ext. 3109
Email :

NY’s First Community Choice Aggregation Program is Here

CCA Will Purchase Electricity on Behalf of 90,000 Homes and Small Businesses in Westchester County

Mar 09, 2016, 10:40 ET from Sustainable Westchester

Today, Sustainable Westchester and 17 of the 20 Westchester County municipalities that comprise Westchester Smart Power announced that they have selected the winner of a$150M contract bid that aims to transform the way we buy and use energy. ConEdison Solutions, the deregulated subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc., has been selected to provide electricity on behalf of 90,000 residential and small business customers throughout Westchester County. Under the CCA, each of the 17 municipalities now has a choice in whether to opt for a 100% renewable energy supply, greened through Green-e certificates, or a slightly lower priced energy supply that includes a standard mix of traditional and renewable energy sources. The contract is a milestone in what Westchester Smart Power intends to be a deep contribution of distributed energy resources (DER) in the state.

A Program That Redefines How We Purchase, Consume and Generate Energy

In 2015, Sustainable Westchester Inc., a local non-profit representing 40 communities in Westchester, was selected by New York State to manage the first Community Choice Aggregation pilot program under Governor Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) strategy. Together, the state’s first consortium of local governments joined to create Westchester Smart Power, giving municipalities the ability to contract directly with energy suppliers, acting as a single buyer, in order to realize bulk discounts on retail rates and to choose power from clean, renewable sources.

The Westchester Smart Power program unifies environmental and consumer interests as, for example, it achieves peak load reductions that may save as much as 100 Megawatts at peak hours, holding the potential to save residents and businesses an additional $10 million per year.

Richard Kauffman, Chairman of Energy and Finance for New York State, said, “As the first Community Choice Aggregation in New York State, Westchester Smart Power holds the potential to transform how consumers purchase, use and choose the energy for their homes and businesses. We congratulate the communities inWestchester County who have embraced Governor Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy for a cleaner, more resilient and affordable energy system ensuring 50% of electricity consumed in New York comes from renewable power by 2030.”

20 of Sustainable Westchester’s 40 members have joined the Westchester Smart Power program. Municipalities that have joined the program include Bedford, Greenburgh, Hastings-on-Hudson, Irvington, Larchmont, Lewisboro,Town of Mamaroneck, Village of Mamaroneck, Mt. Kisco, New Castle, New Rochelle, North Salem, Town of Ossining,Village of Ossining, Pelham, Pleasantville, Rye Brook, Somers, Tarrytown and White Plains. Communities interested in participating should reach out to Sustainable Westchester for details about timing and participation in phase two of the program.

The Electric Service Agreement, drafted by Sustainable Westchester and attorneys and other representatives of the 20 participating municipalities, is a powerful document in its own right, emerging with 42 pages of protections for residential consumers and participating municipalities.

All residents and small businesses will be receiving letters from the municipalities outlining the details about Westchester Smart Power. Service for Westchester Smart Power customers will begin on May 1st.  For more information about Westchester Smart Power, go to

“Westchester Smart Power will give consumers the opportunity to source clean power at more competitive rates. Unprecedented access to our consumption information and a commitment to buy together have been critical in enabling smarter, more informed and more powerful choices,” said Mike Gordon, Co-Chair of Sustainable Westchester.  “The success of Community Choice enables a transformative shift in the way we buy and use electricity, and soon energy, in New York. As the program goes forward, consumers will also benefit from savings attributed to peak demand reductions, local renewable energy generation and energy efficiencies.”

Bedford 2020, a Westchester-based environmental non-profit, is partnering with Sustainable Westchester to spread the word about the opportunity Westchester Smart Power represents to convert the county to renewable energy sources. According to Ellen Rouse Conrad, Co-President of Bedford 2020, “The choice to ‘opt up’ to 100% renewable energy is a game-changing opportunity for residents and small businesses in Westchester County. At long last, government has presented a viable solution for all consumers who care about clean energy, clean water and clean air.”

About Sustainable Westchester:

Sustainable Westchester is a membership organization with more than 85% of all Westchester municipalities participating, representing 800,000 county residents. The action group is designed to turn environmental challenges into opportunities to improve the quality of life, economy and future prospects of county citizens. For more information visit:

About Bedford 2020:

Bedford 2020 is partnering with Sustainable Westchester to assist with education, outreach and implementation of the 100% “opt up” to renewable energy feature of Westchester Smart Power. Bedford 2020 is a non-profit organization leading a grass roots effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 20% by the year 2020 in the town ofBedford, NY and beyond. Since their formation in 2010, they have piloted projects that have subsequently been replicated throughout the region. Their focus is on energy efficiency, solar energy and renewable energy. In addition, they have community programs in four other areas: Food & Agriculture, Transportation, Waste & Recycling, and Water & Land Use. For more information visit: