Tag: Solar

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

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

meter

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.

Bloomberg-Solar

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.”

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, nycsolarize.com.

solarizeNYC_horizontal_color_jpg_scaled

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!

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 www.ny.gov/REV4NY and follow us at @Rev4NY.

Contact(s)

Peter Constantakes,
Phone : 518-862-1090, Ext. 3109
Email : peter.constantakes@nyserda.ny.gov

Bronx School Gets First K-Solar Project

Governor Cuomo Announces First Solar Schools Project at the New York Institute for Special Education in the Bronx

JANUARY 19, 2016 | Albany, NY
Governor Cuomo’s K-Solar Program Increases Use of Renewable Energy in Schools

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the New York Institute for Special Education in the Bronx will be the site of the state’s first solar schools project and will have solar panel arrays installed thanks to a power purchase agreement with SolarCity. This public-private partnership is the first such agreement under the Governor’s K-Solar program, which is designed to increase the use of renewable energy at public school districts and nonprofit schools across the state. As part of the agreement, the project will receive free technical assistance from the New York Power Authority and is eligible for approximately $65,000 in incentives from the Governor’s $1 billion NY-Sun initiative.

“This project is demonstrating how our collaborative, innovative approach to modernizing New York’s energy infrastructure is making a difference for New Yorkers,” said Governor Cuomo. “Through the K-Solar program, the state is enabling schools to create greener communities and reduce energy bills by taking advantage of cost-effective solar power. As schools begin to realize the utility savings to be had through this program, they can begin to put those dollars back in the classroom where they belong.”

To view a short video about the project at the New York Institute for Special Education, click here.

K-Solar provides registered public and private schools with free ongoing advisory services, solar site assessments and energy analysis, technical and administrative support and an expedited permitting process. Since it launched last year, school districts in 59 of the State’s 62 counties have registered with K-Solar. The initiative is a public-private partnership between the New York Power Authority and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority in collaboration with competitively-selected private sector solar developers.

Lieutenant Governor Kathleen C. Hochul said, “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York is showing the nation and the world what is possible by taking historic actions to reduce emissions. Providing cost-effective access to solar energy at hundreds of schools is a major step forward, not only for educators, students and their parents, but also for communities across our great state. This will propel New York State to the forefront of the new green economy and bring the potential for thousands of new jobs.”

K-Solar works in tandem with Community Solar NY, a program launched last year to encourage projects known as “Solarize” campaigns—community-organized efforts to gain a critical mass of area homes and businesses to install solar and share significant cost savings. Both programs are a part of Governor Cuomo’s $1 billion NY-Sun initiative to significantly expand the deployment of solar power statewide.

Schools interested in registering with K-Solar will pay no upfront costs for the installation of solar electric systems in return for signing an 18-year contract with a pre-qualified solar developer—either SunEdison or SolarCity, depending on the region–to buy the power that the solar panels generate. K-Solar guarantees that districts will pay below prevailing market rates over the term of the contract, providing greater certainty about their energy costs over an extended period. The program is expected to help schools save money, lower their carbon footprints, provide educational opportunities for their students and further the installation of solar energy in communities.

New York State Chairman of Energy and Finance Richard Kauffman said, “Scaling and building solar power in our schools creates a gateway for bringing solar into our communities more broadly. Once residents and business owners see the benefits of solar, they become much more likely to make the move themselves. The K-Solar program gives us an opportunity to start meeting Governor Cuomo’s ambitious clean energy targets right away while also accelerating the process through rapid adoption elsewhere.”

K-Solar is a core component of New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy and supports the Governor’s requirement that New York State meet 50 percent of our electricity needs with renewable resources by 2030. The program also supports the goals of Governor Cuomo’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math learning initiatives by enhancing student awareness of energy efficient and renewable technologies, promoting student engagement in clean technology and increasing interest in career opportunities in the energy field. Registered schools receive solar technology curricula, clean-energy training for teachers and other educational materials.

New York Power Authority President and CEO Gil C. Quiniones said, “In less than a year, hundreds of districts have enthusiastically embraced the prospect of solar power as a viable energy choice for their schools. By using K-Solar, schools have a unique opportunity to leverage resources from NYPA to demonstrate the benefits of solar to their communities without making a significant capital investment for solar generating equipment. The result will help transform how New Yorkers think about and use electric power.”

NYSERDA President and CEO John B. Rhodes said, “K-Solar offers a great lesson in how school districts can partner with the State to reduce reliance on the electric grid while teaching students about the benefits of renewable resources. The program directly supports the goals of REV by expanding electricity production at customer sites where it can take pressure off the grid and increase clean energy resources in the State.”

New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said, “Having solar panels and other technologies associated with K-Solar in our schools provides an interactive learning experience with renewable energy. K-Solar helps to spark innovative problem-solving and provides teachers with the opportunity to teach concepts in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to pique student interest in these critical subjects.”

New York Institute for Special Education Executive Director Bernadette Kappen said, “K-Solar gives the Institute an opportunity to lower its carbon footprint and be a part of New York State’s plan to increase clean energy sources while saving on costs. The solar curriculum will promote STEM-based learning for students with visual impairments and students with emotional disabilities. We are celebrating 185 years of providing educational programs and being selected to participate in this project is a highlight of this important year.”

Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj said, “I am proud of The New York Institute of Education for taking advantage of Governor’s Cuomo’s solar panel program. This sets a positive example of the progressive initiatives we need to take to continue to preserve our environment and reduce our carbon footprint. I am excited that this will forever be a learning tool for our youth and generations to come.”

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said, “I want to thank the New York Power Authority (NYPA), the New York State Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), and especially New York Institute of Special Education, who are the first school to sign on Governor Cuomo’s K-Solar program. Not only is this program helping The Bronx and New York City become greener, but the education component of the K-Solar program also helps our future leaders and scientists jump to the forefront of this burgeoning technology.”

About Reforming the Energy Vision
Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) is New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s strategy to build a cleaner, more resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers. REV places clean, locally produced power at the core of New York’s energy system which protects the environment and supports the State’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent while generating 50 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030. Successful initiatives already launched as part of REV include NY Sun, NY Green Bank, NY Prize, K-Solar, and a includes a commitment to improve energy affordability for low-income communities. To learn more about REV, please visitwww.ny.gov/REV4NY or follow us at @Rev4NY.

Contact the Governor’s Press Office

Albany Press Office: 518.474.8418

Via:  New York State Governor’s Website

Con Edison Wins Award for Technology That Supports Big Solar Jobs

NEW YORK, NY, Sep 10, 2015  — Con Edison has earned recognition for a smart grid innovation that lets customers install super-sized photovoltaic arrays and continue to receive reliable service.

The Solar Electric Power Association named Con Edison a winner of the Solar Power Player Award in the Investor Owned Utility category. The association helps utilities integrate solar energy into their portfolios.

“Our customers are seeking clean-energy options and ability to manage their costs,” said Robert Schimmenti, senior vice president, Electric Operations, for Con Edison. “One way we try to help them meet those goals is by making it easy for them to turn to solar, a renewable source that is an important part of our state’s energy future.”

The company earned its award with a 2013 project that enabled Jetro Cash and Carry’s Restaurant Depot to place a 1.6-megawatt array on the roof of a building in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx.

Con Edison engineers were concerned that the backflow of electricity from such a large, net metered installation would cause network switches to open, impacting the reliability of the grid. Con Edison has thousands of network switches on its system. They connect and disconnect underground transformers based on changing load conditions.

The Con Edison experts were able to adjust the relays on the network switches associated with Jetro so that the switches do not open when power flows into the grid from Jetro. But those switches will open if they detect an actual fault.

Since the Jetro panels went into service, Con Edison has used the technology to enable five additional customers to install large solar arrays.

In all, Con Edison customers in New York City and Westchester County, N.Y. have completed 5,500 solar projects, producing 75 megawatts to power their homes and businesses.

Solar energy fits with Con Edison’s ongoing quest to protect the environment, maintain its industry-leading reliable service and save customers money. Solar energy is an important part of Con Edison’s plan to manage the demand for electricity in certain parts of Brooklyn and Queens where rapid economic development is taking place.

The company is also conducting a demonstration project called Virtual Power Plant to explore how solar can be combined with battery storage to increase benefits to the grid and make service more resilient.

Con Edison even placed solar panels on the roof of its headquarters in Manhattan. The 200 panels produce 40 kilowatts of clean, renewable power.

Con Edison is a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc. [NYSE: ED], one of the nation’s largest investor-owned energy companies, with approximately $13 billion in annual revenues and $45 billion in assets. The utility provides electric, gas and steam service to more than 3 million customers in New York City and Westchester County, N.Y.

Media Relations
212-460-4111

SOURCE: Consolidated Edison, Inc.

California Sets Another Solar Power Record

The state of California has achieved a new electricity generation peak record for utility-scale solar energy, according to recent reports. The new record of 6.391 gigawatts (alternating current, not direct current) was achieved on August 20, 2015, according to California’s grid operator. This figure refers to both utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) projects and concentrating solar power… Read more »

The Community Virtual Solar Garden Difference (even for renters)

Solar Gardens

Why do just a traditional solar project when you can do a solar project that will benefit the whole community? Community Virtual Solar Gardens enable communities to get clean, affordable, renewable solar energy to power their facilities, while ensuring local ownership, with all community members having the opportunity to own and benefit from solar.

infographic-solardifference

See the presentation below to find out more about Community Virtual Solar Gardens:

Governor Cuomo Announces New Shared Renewables initiative

July 16, 2015

Shared Renewables Program Provides New Opportunities for New York Residents and Businesses to Access Clean and Affordable Energy

Governor Cuomo announced the approval of a bold new community initiative enabling millions of New Yorkers to access clean and affordable energy for the first time. Proposed in Governor Cuomo’s 2015 State of Opportunity Agenda, Shared Renewables provides opportunities for renters, homeowners, low-income residents, schools and businesses to join together to set up shared renewable energy projects resulting in healthier and stronger communities.

“The Shared Renewables initiative will help people and communities across the state save money on local clean energy projects,” Governor Cuomo said. “This program is about protecting the environment and ensuring that all New Yorkers, regardless of their zip code or income, have the opportunity to access clean and affordable power. Together, we will build a cleaner and greener New York.”

Renewable resources are already providing massive economic and environmental benefits across the state, with installed solar capacity having grown 300% between 2011 and 2014. Yet, many New Yorkers are still unable to participate because they rent their home, live in an apartment building, or own properties unsuitable for installing solar panels or other clean energy technologies.

Under the Shared Renewables initiative (also referred to as community distributed generation), customers can join together to share in the benefits of local solar, wind, and other renewable energy projects. Each individual member’s production would appear as a credit on their monthly utility bill. The first phase of Shared Renewables will focus on promoting low-income customer participation and installations in areas of the power grid that can benefit most from local power production.

“Democratizing the production of power allows individuals and communities to take control of their energy future and realize the economic, social, and environmental benefits of solar and other renewable resources,” said Richard Kauffman, Chairman of Energy and Finance for New York. “As a direct result of Governor Cuomo’s leadership and the Reforming the Energy Vision initiative, New York State is once again at the forefront of progressive energy policy by empowering millions of our residents, schools, and businesses to choose renewable power for the first time.”

Governor Cuomo’s REV initiative takes a proactive approach to meet the challenges facing today’s power sector by building a regulatory framework to modernize the utility industry to create greater value for customers and support new investment in clean energy.

Public Service Commission Chair Audrey Zibelman said, “Under Governor Cuomo’s REV initiative, Shared Renewables expands consumer access to reliable, low-cost electricity generated from renewable energy facilities. Shared Renewables places customers who do not own homes on an equal footing with traditional single-home customers and creates opportunities for low- and moderate-income families who don’t have access to electricity generated from renewable resources.”

During the first phase of Shared Renewables from October 19, 2015 through April 30, 2016, projects will be limited to those that advance one of two specific REV goals: siting distributed generation in areas where it can provide the greatest locational benefits to the larger power grid, or supporting economically distressed communities by ensuring at least 20 percent of the participants are low- and moderate-income customers.

Beginning May 1, 2016, a second phase will make shared renewable projects available throughout entire utility service territories.

In addition, other REV principles can be applied, such as aligning utility incentives to fully support Shared Renewables projects by allowing shared savings or revenues from new business models that facilitate projects at lower costs. In addition to these changes, the Public Service Commission will immediately commence a collaborative to determine how to continue the encouragement of low-income customer participation in community distributed generation during the second phase.

Customers interested in the Shared Renewables initiative can participate in a number of ways. For instance, the residents of a condominium may want to join together for a shared solar project. They would need to find a “sponsor” who will be responsible for organizing the project on behalf of the residents. A sponsor could be a developer or even the residents of the building banding together to form a legal entity such as a limited liability corporation, or LLC. To learn more about how you can participate in shared renewables as a customer, community, or project sponsor, please visit http://www.ny-sun.ny.gov/Community-Solar and sign up to receive assistance and resources to help you take advantage of local clean energy projects.

About Reforming the Energy Vision

Under Governor Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV), New York State is spurring clean energy innovation and attracting new investment to build a cleaner, more resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers. REV encompasses groundbreaking regulatory reform to integrate clean energy into the core of our power grid, redesigned programs and strategies to unlock private capital, and active leadership in deploying innovative energy solutions across the State’s own public facilities and operations. REV will enable a dynamic, clean energy economy operating at a scale that will stimulate opportunities for communities across the state to create jobs and drive local economic growth, while protecting our environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants.

Successful initiatives already launched as part of REV include NY Sun, NY Green Bank, NY Prize, K-Solar, and a commitment to improve energy affordability for low-income communities.

To learn more about REV, please visit www.ny.gov/REV4NY.

Contact the Governor’s Press Office

New York Press Office: 212.681.4640

Albany Press Office: 518.474-8418

Solar Power Grows More than 300% in NYS!

All Regions See Triple-Digit Growth of Clean, Cost-effective Solar Power to Lower Costs for Residential Customers and Businesses

July 06, 2015

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced today the growth of solar in New York State has increased more than 300 percent from 2011 to 2014, which is twice the rate of U.S. solar growth overall. The significant increase affirms the value of Governor Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy – which includes the $1 billion NY-Sun Initiative – to build a clean, resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers.

“The Empire State is rapidly becoming a leader in clean energy technology, and that means greener and more sustainable communities for all New Yorkers,” Governor Cuomo said. “Through the $1 billion NY-Sun Initiative, we’re making solar a reality in virtually every corner of the state and building a brighter future today. I am proud to see New York pulling well ahead of the national average for the growing solar industry, and look forward to seeing that momentum continue in the years to come.”

As part of Reforming the Energy Vision, the $1 billion NY-Sun initiative is significantly expanding the use of solar throughout New York as it becomes a sustainable, subsidy-free industry already supporting thousands of jobs.

A total of 314.48 megawatts of solar electric was installed as of December 2014 across the state, equivalent to powering more than 51,000 homes. The substantial growth is attributed to a combination of factors, including the NY-Sun initiative, decline in solar electric component prices, and growth in the number of installer businesses marketing solar electric directly to consumers.

“Reforming the Energy Vision is already working to increase access for more and more New Yorkers to realize the benefits of local, clean energy,” said Richard Kauffman, Chairman of Energy and Finance for New York. “New York State’s booming solar industry is driven by individual and community interest in cleaner, more resilient and affordable energy, and Reforming the Energy Vision and NY-Sun are making it easier for businesses to meet this growing demand.”

Solar capacity tripled, quadrupled or quintupled in every region of the state other than Long Island, which has more installations than any other region. In addition, numbers of projects at least doubled in every region. The largest increase in percentage of megawatts was in the North Country, followed by the Finger Lakes, Central New York and New York City.

The following shows the percentage increase of megawatts (MW) of solar capacity and projects installed in each region across the state from 2011 to 2014:

Region MW Installed Increase Projects Installed Increase
Capital Region 500% 240%
Central New York 519% 299%
Finger Lakes 533% 193%
Long Island 154% 122%
Mid-Hudson 421% 296%
Mohawk Valley 475% 365%
New York City 516% 548%
North Country 573% 153%
Southern Tier 86% 144%
Western New York 216% 171%

In addition, as of May 2015, more than 304 MW of solar photovoltaic was under contract, not yet installed, with an additional 65.6 MW of applications accepted, not yet contracted.

Maps showing megawatts of solar capacity for counties in each region and a chart showing pre-NY-Sun versus post-NY-Sun figures can be found here nyserda.ny.gov/solarcapacity.

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, solar energy is the fastest growing energy technology in the United States today:

  • Solar capacity grew in the United States by 146 percent from 2011 to 2014.
  • Installed solar photovoltaic system prices in the United States have dropped steadily – by 8 percent from 2013 to 2014 and 49 percent from 2010.
  • There are currently more than 538 solar companies at work throughout the value chain in New York, employing more than 7,000 people.
  • New York State ranked 7th in the country for installed photovoltaic capacity in 2014, up from 9th a year earlier, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

“This exceptional solar growth demonstrates that New York State is doing what needs to be done to scale-up this renewable resource and move toward a sustainable solar industry,” said John B. Rhodes, President and CEO of NYSERDA. “NYSERDA will continue to build on this momentum and work toward Governor Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy to create a clean, resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers.”

 An important pillar of Reforming the Energy Vision is the proposed Clean Energy Fund, a $5 billion investment over the next ten years in clean energy programs. The Clean Energy Fund encompasses four portfolios: Market Development, Innovation and Research, NY Green Bank and NY-Sun.
In 2014, the Governor made a historic commitment of nearly $1 billion to NY-Sun in order to significantly expand deployment of solar capacity throughout the state and transform New York’s solar industry to a sustainable, incentive-free sector. NY-Sun involves deploying public funds in a strategic manner to drive industry to scale and reduce burdens on ratepayers. It provides support for solar projects and uses a proven Megawatt Block system approach that is responsive to market conditions, allowing the solar market in each region of the state to grow at its own pace. It also includes support for work to decrease balance-of-system costs (everything except the cost of solar modules and inverters) through streamlined permitting, reduced acquisition costs and training of code officials and first responders.
Additional efforts under NY-Sun, such a Community Solar NY and K-Solar, are also helping homeowners, small businesses and schools throughout the State gain greater access to clean energy through economies of scale from soliciting bids for multiple projects at one time.

Kevin Bailey, Owner, High Peaks Solar in Wynantskill: “The growth of my PV installation company has been tremendous over the past seven years, and we have been nearly doubling or tripling our growth in sales and installation capacity every year over the past five years. Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s NY-Sun initiative, the price of photovoltaic technology, including solar modules and inverters, has been rapidly decreasing. This has led to increased access to more people and more work for installation companies like High Peaks Solar.”

Gordon Woodcock, Renewables Department Manager, Taitem Engineering in Ithaca “Taitem Engineering’s Renewables Department has more than doubled in size over the past year thanks to support through the NY-Sun initiative; low-cost, accessible financing through Green Jobs-Green New York; and innovative customer outreach programs such as Solar Tompkins and Solarize Southern Tier. We have added technical staff, sales and marketing professionals, and experienced contractors while also training entry level installers. Our diversity hiring initiatives have supported this growth, and shown that the renewable energy industry provides opportunity for our entire community.”

Jeff Irish, Founder and President, Hudson Solar in Rhinebeck and Albany, said, “As an entirely New York based solar design and installation company, we’ve benefited greatly from the NY-Sun initiative. Our Capital District and Hudson Valley solar installations and employment have both been growing at double digit annual rates recently. Hudson Solar’s mission is to help our region move to a better energy future, and we’re continuing to invest in our business and our experienced local team to do so.”

Adam K. Rizzo, President, Solar Liberty in Buffalo, said, “Solar Liberty has continued to rapidly grow and add employees because of the NY-Sun initiative. This year, we plan to install more residential and commercial systems than anytime in Solar Liberty’s history. We are proud to be partnered with NYSERDA since our company’s inception in 2003 and look forward to continuing to expand our business in New York State.”

Under Governor Cuomo’s initiative for Reforming the Energy Vision, New York State will spur clean energy innovation, bring in new investments, improve consumer choice while protecting the environment and energize New York’s economy. This pioneering approach provides New Yorkers new opportunities for energy savings, local power generation, and enhanced reliability. To achieve the State’s economic development and environmental objectives, Reforming the Energy Vision encompasses statewide initiatives such as the Clean Energy Fund and $1 billion NY Green Bank to overcome market barriers and attract private capital. By empowering communities and creating jobs through programs like Community Solar NY and K-Solar for schools, the $40 million NY-Prize competition for community microgrids and the $1 billion NY-Sun initiative, New York is leveraging statewide resources to integrate local energy resources and meet the needs of New York communities.

For more information on Reforming the Energy Vision, please visit http://www.ny.gov/REV4NY.

Last Updated: 07/06/2015

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