New York Shines with Solar Support

Joanna Schroeder

The state of New York is a shining example of what solar support can do for the industry. NY Governor Andrew M Cuomo recently announced the additional commitment of $108 million in funding over the next two years for the his NY-Sun initiative. The funds cover for residential and commercial solar energy projects and bring the two-year budget to $216 million for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

Long Island Solar Farm“Solar power is critical to making our environment healthier and our energy system more resilient,” said Governor Cuomo. “The funding approved today will expand the use of clean, renewable power across New York State and ensure we continue to be a national leader in solar energy. Today’s announcement highlights the ongoing success of NY-Sun, attracting the economic benefits of a vibrant solar industry, creating more jobs, and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.”

Governor Cuomo launched the NY-Sun initiative in 2012 in an attempt to increase the amount of solar power installed each year in New York State. Since its inception, the NY-Sun initiative, which brings together and expands existing programs administered by NYSERDA, New York Power Authority (NYPA) and Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), has installed or funded development for a total of 299 megawatts of solar photovoltaic capacity. This is more than was installed in the entire prior decade.

The funding was approved by the Public Service Commission (PSC) and Chair Audrey Zibelman said of the decision, “The Commission recognizes the substantial opportunities that solar power offers residential and commercial customers to reduce electricity bills and improve the environment. We fully support the solar power goals set by the Governor’s NY-Sun initiative.”

With this decision, the PSC authorizes NYSERDA to plan a transition of its current solar programs to a regional megawatt block structure that includes a longer-term schedule for incentive rebate levels that change according to a predetermined set of targets. In essence, as more solar megawatts are installed, the per-megawatt rebate level falls. Also, as part of this transition, NYSERDA will continue to set aside $30 million to increase solar installations in the downstate regions. The remainder of the $108 million will be allocated based on regional budgets and market conditions.

“At a time when many of our political leaders are failing to address the need to transition to clean energy sources, Governor Cuomo continues to position New York as a leader in solar energy,” said Shaun Chapman, president, New York Solar Energy Industry Association. “Through the NY Sun Program, which the Public Service Commission has responsibly acted upon, our industry is now empowered to deliver jobs and clean, low cost, renewable energy to all New Yorkers.”

Alternative energy, Electricity, Solar