New York commits $1bn for new solar power projects

The New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has agreed to expand NY-Sun’s initiative throughout the state with around $1bn (€723m) in incentives for new solar power projects.

The NY-Sun programme provides long-term funding that will increase existing businesses and attract new investments to New York from international solar companies for greater economic growth of the state.

Presently, New York has more than 400 solar companies operating across the state from Long Island to Buffalo.

Meanwhile, the market employs more than 5,000 highly skilled jobs and continues to grow.

Cuomo said that this $1bn investment underscores New York’s commitment to growing the clean energy economy.

Cuomo said “By providing long-term funding certainty, the state is attracting private sector investment, creating new economic opportunities and supporting sustainable development.

“As we celebrate Earth Week, we are once again reminded how initiatives such as NY-Sun can work to provide innovative solutions, create a more resilient and flexible power grid, lower the state’s carbon footprint and promote a cleaner and healthier environment for all New Yorkers.”

In addition to the announcement by the governor, the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) has also approved an order to change the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s (NYSERDA) present incentive-based solar programmes by transitioning from government-sponsored energy programmes to market-based financing for the solar sector.

The PSC order approves a previously proposed ‘Megawatt (MW) Block’ incentive structure that allocates MWs to specific regions of the state, breaks those regional MW targets into blocks, to which incentives are assigned, and the PSC order awards incentives based upon the block in effect at the time.

Thie new structure will provide allocations on a regional basis in three categories: residential photovoltaic projects up to 25kW; non-residential PV projects up to 200kW; and systems greater than 200kW.

The allotments will be based on historic demand, market potential, installed cost per watt and equity. As the blocks are fulfilled, incentives will decline according to market rates.

PSC chair Audrey Zibelman said, “The Commission recognises the substantial opportunities that solar power offers residential and commercial customers to reduce electricity bills and improve the environment.

“I applaud Governor Cuomo for his tremendous vision and support to strengthen the development of our solar energy resources and our solar energy industry. NY-Sun is a key building block in the State’s efforts to build a vibrant, clean energy economy in New York State.”

Cuomo’s funding commitment provides $3.5m for a consumer education effort on the benefits of PV systems; to improve the public’s understanding about the various PV contract types, such as direct ownership, leases and power purchase agreements; and other opportunities, like community solar and energy storage.