The New York Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced that 2 gigawatts of solar capacity has been installed across the state, underscoring New York’s position as one of the fastest growing distributed solar markets in the nation with a nearly 1,800 percent growth, leveraging $4 billion in private investment, fueling nearly 12,000 jobs since 2011 and decreasing the cost of solar by nearly 60%. This announcement represents one-third of the solar capacity needed to achieve the statewide target to install six gigawatts of solar by 2025 and supports Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s nation-leading Green New Deal, which calls for 70% of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030.
“Solar is a vital part of New York’s Green New Deal strategy to transition to a clean energy future and reduce emissions to combat one of the most pressing issues of our time — climate change,” Governor Cuomo said. “The success of this initiative demonstrates we are on a path to meeting our nation-leading energy goals, and our climate agenda is spurring economic growth and leaving this planet cleaner and greener for generations to come.”
“This installation of additional solar capacity advances our ambitious clean energy goals powering hundreds of thousands of homes,” Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said. “We are committed to investing in affordable, innovative solutions that are creating jobs, reducing emissions and combatting climate change.”
The announcement was made yesterday by NYSERDA president and CEO Alicia Barton in Saratoga County at a festive ribbon-cutting ceremony for one of the largest completed community solar projects in upstate New York. Located on Pruyn Hill Road in Mechanicville, the 6.12-MW community solar project developed by ForeFront Power is fully subscribed and will provide clean electricity to more than 1,000 customers.The project received $2.3 million from NYSERDA through NY-Sun.
By enabling consumers to subscribe to the local community solar project, this project will increase access to solar for homeowners and renters who may not have ideal conditions to directly install solar panels onsite. Through the community solar arrangements, energy is still delivered by a customer’s regular electric provider, and the power produced from the community solar array is fed directly back to the electric grid. As the grid is supplied with clean, renewable energy, subscribers receive credit on their electric bills for their portion of the community solar system. Currently, New York’s community solar market is serving nearly 14,000 subscribers across the state.
The Mechanicville Community Solar Project contributes to the over 300 MW of community solar or distributed generation projects that have been supported by NY Green Bank with over $100 million in capital commitments since 2017. NY Green Bank, a State-sponsored finance entity is a division of NYSERDA, and has played a market-leading role in financing distributed solar in New York State.
The 2 GW milestone consists of both state and private-sector supported solar projects. New York’s policies have ensured solar reaches every county in the state with Long Island, Mid-Hudson and Capital regions leading the charge with the most installed solar. Since 2011, Governor Cuomo’s NY-Sun initiative has achieved the following:
- Enabled the installation of solar on the rooftop or property of 123,000 homes in every county in New York;
- Provided over $741 million in incentives, leveraging $4 billion in private investment;
- Supported the completion of over 89,000 solar projects;
- Delivered enough clean, renewable energy to power over 244,000 New York homes; and
- Helped to drive down the average cost of solar from $6.35 in 2011 to $2.56 per watt in 2019, representing a nearly 60 percent cost decline in less than 10 years.
2019 is NY-Sun’s most productive year ever for solar installations with additional projects expected to be completed and operational before 2020. In addition to the 2 GW of solar installed across the state, there are another 1,262 megawatts of solar projects currently under development, including 351 community solar projects that will expand access to more New Yorkers including low-to-moderate-income households. When built, these projects would produce enough energy to power an additional 220,000 average New York homes.
Building on New York’s successful track record in advancing the state’s solar market and workforce, on November 25, 2019, NYSERDA filed a petition with the New York State Public Service Commission requesting an additional $573 million to expand the NY-Sun program and drive toward the state’s new six gigawatt solar target.
Importantly, the petition requests $135 million — or an approximately twenty-fold increase — dedicated to activities focused on low- and moderate-income New Yorkers, affordable housing, environmental justice communities and disadvantaged communities. Expanding the state’s solar goal to six gigawatts is expected to generate approximately $5.4 billion in private investments, up to $500 million per year in statewide energy savings and more than 10,000 new jobs.
News item from NYSERDA