Within two years of the programs introduction, the NY-Sun Initiative has resulted in 316 megawatts of solar power having been installed, more than in the entire previous decade. It’s estimated that the energy savings will be the equivalent of taking 23,000 cars off the road, thereby avoiding 116,000 tons of gas emissions. This success prompted Governor Cuomo to commit almost $1 billion to the program, which is expected to result in 3 gigawatts of solar capacity by the year 2023.
How the Program Works
The NY-Sun initiative consolidates and coordinates with other programs, including the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), PSEG Long Island, and the New York Power Authority (NYPA). To achieve these sustainable energy goals, beginning in August, 2014, a Megawatt (MW) Block system was instituted for systems up to 220kW.
The state was divided into three areas, with each being given a set of projected energy targets. Con Edison Territory’s $197 million provides incentives for 202 MW for residential projects and 303 MW for small nonresidential projects. Upstate territory, with $425.5 million, has a goal of 444 residential MW and 451 non-residential MW. Long Island, with $60 million, has a target of 122 residential and 58 non-residential MW. NPYA projects will receive $20 million to offer incentives for government municipalities and schools.
Once a target has been reached, the “block” is closed, and a new target is created with a lower incentive. When all the blocks for each region and sector have been filled, incentives will no longer be offered. It’s an incentive system with an element of planned obsolescence designed to coincide with the ability of the new installations to become self-supporting. The state is also streamlining the inspection process to help further reduce initial costs. You can see a timeline of all the installations that have already been put into place here.
Financing may be available for both residential and small nonresidential customers through Green Jobs-Green New York and NY Green Bank. Two other programs introduced in January, 2014, Community Solar and K-Solar, focus on investment strategies like shared ownership and aggregated purchasing to make solar electric systems more affordable. The federal government has also contributed for the last seven years through its Solar Rooftops initiative, and the results are truly impressive.
In addition to the incentives that are offered to each of the power companies to help offset the cost of the reduction in electricity used, the state of New York is also offering every household that adopts solar energy to utilize a $5,000 tax credit for that year. Considering the amount of wealth that is concentrated in NY state, this could potentially save residents enough to entice them to invest in either leasing or purchasing a solar power system.
Needless to say, New York is serious about getting involved in residential and commercial solar energy. Due to the success of the program in California and Colorado, NY has followed in suit and hopes to become the state with the third most renewable residential power systems in the country!
This article was composed by Brian Levesque. Brian is currently studying his undergraduate at Colorado University in the field of Electrical Engineering. In his free time, Brian enjoys researching and contributing to Ablaze Energy – a Denver based residentoal solar solution company.