Electric Orgs. Team Up On Projects
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo launched the NY-Sun Initiative to double the amount of customer-sited solar power installed annually in New York, and quadruple that amount by 2013.
The NY-Sun Initiative was first outlined by the governor in his 2012 State of the State Address. It brings together and expands existing programs administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), and the New York Power Authority (NYPA), to ensure a coordinated and well-funded solar energy expansion plan.
“The NY-Sun Initiative puts New York at the forefront of solar development and research, creating green jobs while containing energy costs for consumers,” Cuomo said. “This clean energy investment will help protect the environment, expand our solar capacity, and lead to a longterm reduction of the cost of solar in New York.”
The Public Service Commission approved NYSERDA’s request to double funding for customer-sited solar electric systems, known as a solar photovoltaic (PV) energy systems, to $432 million over the next four years.
The expanded solar program will increase financial incentives for large, commercial-sized PV projects and expand incentive programs for small-to-medium residential and commercial systems.
The NYSERDA will also provide additional funding for its competitively bid solar program for largerscale and aggregated systems that currently focuses on businesses, colleges and universities, and other large buildings located in New York City, Westchester and the lower Hudson Valley.
The program, which is now offering $30 million and accepting applications, provides another important strategy to deal with the demand for electricity in the Downstate metropolitan area and will be expanded to other areas of the state.
As part of NY-Sun, NYSERDA and NYPA are collaborating in a NYSun balance-of-system (BOS) initiative, working with private and public partners across New York State, and building on the BOS advancements made by the City University of New York (CUNY) and the efforts underway in the PV Manufacturing Consortium.
The NY-Sun BOS initiative will focus on statewide standardization and streamlining of the procedures for permitting and interconnection, and development and training. A broad range of demonstration projects will be conducted that represent residential, commercial and industrial applications. NYSERDA and NYPA will partner with other public and private entities in this effort, including utilities, equipment vendors, solar installers, and localities across New York State.
In support of NY-Sun BOS, NYPA’s new efforts include expanding its current solar research and demonstration programs through its recently announced Solar Market Acceleration Program (Solar MAP), which will make competitive funding available for innovative solar technology research, training and demonstration projects and cost reduction strategies.
To make solar affordable for residents and businesses, NYSERDA and NYPA are providing at least $40 million dollars to promote research into reducing the overall equipment and installation costs so that in the future solar energy is competitive with other forms of electricity and will require no government subsidies.
In addition, the LIPA is implementing a first-of-its-kind program in New York State to purchase up to 50 megawatts of solar power that is generated on its customers’ premises. Under this plan, the owner of the PV system is paid a fixed rate by LIPA for every solar kilowatt hour generated over a 20-year term.
“NY-Sun will be the major driving force in New York for the continued growth and success of our important solar electric industry,” said PSC Commission Chairman Garry Brown. “NY-Sun will encourage residential and business customers to install non-polluting solar systems, and it will create significant job opportunities for the solar industry.”
The targets announced by the governor-to install in 2012 twice the customer-sited solar capacity that was added during 2011 and to quadruple that amount in 2013- equate to a 300 percent growth in annual installed customer-sited capacity in New York State in two years.