Funding Builds Upon Unprecedented Development of Solar Power in New York State
April 05, 2013
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that $13.5 million is available through the NY-Sun initiative for projects aimed at reducing the overall cost of installing photovoltaic (PV) solar electric systems and streamlining the inspection and permitting process for local officials.
“The NY-Sun initiative is proving to be a driving force in making New York a national leader in the deployment of solar energy,” said Governor Cuomo. “These efforts to reduce installation costs and streamline PV permitting processes, together with our commitment to extend annual funding under NY-Sun to 2023, will provide the industry with long-term certainty and attract significant private investment. Through NY-Sun, we will see continued growth of the clean energy economy and a healthier environment.”
Of the $13.5 million now available, $10 million will support efforts to lower the overall cost of non-module PV systems and $3.5 million will fund a two-year statewide effort to educate local officials and first responders.
The $10 million, being equally funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the New York Power Authority (NYPA), will focus on projects that reduce PV balance-of-system (BOS) costs, which are all the upfront costs of the PV system except the module. BOS costs can account for more than half of total system costs, and include equipment and installation. The program will seek to maximize private leverage and demonstrate business models that could be adopted at scale by the marketplace. In addition, this program will advance streamlining the procedures for permitting and interconnection to reduce BOS costs. Projects will be selected on a competitive basis. Eligible projects under this offering will include:
- Non-hardware projects that reduce the cost of PV systems by addressing and reducing soft costs, such as business costs, installation costs, and permitting and inspection costs.
- Projects developing hardware that will lead to lower overall installed costs of PV systems and to successful commercialization of products manufactured in New York State.
- Installation of PV systems to demonstrate new products or concepts in innovative applications.
For more information about this funding, visit http://www.nyserda.ny.gov/nysun-bos. First round proposals are due July 30, 2013 and second round proposals due January 30, 2014.
In addition to the BOS project funding, NYSERDA is offering $3.5 million to support education and training on PV for local officials who might have a role in the permitting, inspection or approval of a PV system and for first responders who might encounter PV systems while fighting fires. Applicants for this funding may submit proposals in one or both categories:
- Hands-on training and workshops, technical assistance services and train-the trainer sessions.
- Educational campaign and development of a PV BOS internet-based toolkit for local officials, as well as other materials.
Proposals for education and training are June 6, 2013. For additional information about submitting a proposal, go to http://nyserda.ny.gov/rfp2697.
“Governor Cuomo’s NY-Sun initiative has had a tremendous impact on transforming the solar market in New York. By reducing the cost of solar projects and supporting hands-on training for stakeholders and practitioners, New York is again demonstrating its leadership in the acceleration of PV installations and the development of a well-trained workforce,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO, NYSERDA. “The programs being undertaken jointly by NYPA and NYSERDA will ensure solar power becomes a more affordable option for New Yorkers.”
“While solar panel prices have dropped, Governor Cuomo’s NY-Sun initiative is taking an innovative step to further reduce PV costs by encouraging New York businesses and researchers to develop more economical hardware and contribute to lowering installation and interconnection costs,” said NYPA President and Chief Executive Officer Gil C. Quiniones. “Through this program, NYSERDA and NYPA will help grow the solar power industry and make this clean energy source more cost-effective.”
Under Governor Cuomo’s NY-Sun initiative, the solar industry has experienced tremendous growth. Combined efforts of NYSERDA, NYPA and the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) in 2012 led to the successful installation of over 58 megawatts (MW) of PV in the State, nearly doubling the amount of customer-sited solar power added in 2011. A total of 242 MW of PV has been installed or is under development as part of NY-Sun. More PV systems are being developed under NY-Sun than in the entire prior decade combined.
In his 2013 State of the State address, Governor Cuomo proposed extending the NY-Sun program through 2023 at the existing annual funding levels to provide longer program certainty to solar developers, attract significant private investment in solar electric (PV) systems, enable the sustainable development of a robust solar power industry in New York, create well-paying skilled jobs, improve the reliability of the electric grid and reduce air pollution. Through this initiative, it is anticipated that $50 million will be directed toward reducing PV BOS costs alone.
“Building a strong solar market in New York will take a top to bottom approach, and this NY-Sun investment does that,” said Sail Van Nostrand, President, New York Solar Energy Industries Association (NYSEIA). “The installer community knows that selling the solar system is just the beginning. Permits, technical assistance, and the layers of bureaucracy present significant costs and obstacles to the growth of the solar industry in NY. The acknowledgement of these challenges, and the bold action by Governor Cuomo to address these issues signals to us that New York State is open for business.”
“Governor Cuomo’s launch of NY-Sun last year has delivered on its promise to jumpstart the solar industry in the Empire State; attracting private sector investment, creating local jobs, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution from the electric sector,” said Jackson Morris, Director of Strategic Engagement at the Pace Energy & Climate Center. “Governor Cuomo’s commitment to aggressively scale up and extend the program for ten years will cement New York’s position as a national leader on solar. Complementing this essential long-term support for the solar installations themselves, the Balance-of-System program will help drive down the cost of these projects, thereby ensuring New Yorkers get the most bang for their solar buck.”
Rob Moore, Executive Director of Environmental Advocates of New York said, “Solar power will be a major part of our post-Sandy electric grid, helping make our energy infrastructure more robust, more cost effective and less polluting. The NY-Sun Initiative is driving the innovations needed to help modernize our energy infrastructure while reducing our reliance on climate-altering fossil fuels. This initiative should make solar power a more affordable option for a larger number of New York homeowners and small businesses. We applaud NYSERDA and the Cuomo Administration for moving this forward.”
“We commend Governor Cuomo, NYSERDA, NYPA and LIPA for their commitment to ensuring that New York continues to build a thriving market for solar power,” said Valerie Strauss, Interim Executive Director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York (ACE NY). “The initiatives announced today are important to reducing financial and regulatory barriers, which is welcome news for both the solar industry and New Yorkers making the switch to clean energy.”
For more information on the NY-Sun initiative, visit ny-sun.ny.gov.