Success of NY-Sun Has Led to Surge in Solar Installations and NYS Being Ranked Fifth in the Nation for Solar Jobs
March 04, 2014
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $28.6 million in awards under the NY-Sun initiative, including 29 large-scale photovoltaic (PV) projects across New York, which will add 33.6 megawatts to the State’s solar capacity, and eight innovative projects to reduce costs associated with solar installations. These awards underscore Governor Cuomo’s commitment to scale up solar deployment across the State, sparking the significant growth in solar power and jobs as demonstrated by a recent independent report ranking New York fifth in the nation for the number of solar jobs per capita.
“With these awards, we aren’t just investing in clean, renewable energy: we are investing in New York’s future,” said Governor Cuomo. “New York State is continuing to expand its clean-energy economy by partnering with the private sector to support innovative solar projects. The NY-Sun initiative has played an essential role in our efforts to grow the solar industry in New York and create cleaner communities across the State.”
Earlier this month, The Solar Foundation, an independent, nonprofit solar research organization, ranked New York State fifth in the nation in the number of jobs per capita, with more than 5,000 jobs in 2013, moving it up from its seventh rank just last year.
A total of 299 megawatts of solar electric (PV) capacity has been installed or is under development in the past two years, which will result in the avoidance of approximately 145,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year. As a result of the steady decline in solar costs in the past two years, incentive amounts have been reduced, allowing for more solar projects to receive awards. In the past two years, the portfolio-weighted average incentive for large solar projects has dropped from $1.30 per watt in 2011 to 77 cents per watt today.
New York State is embarking on a new PV phase to continue to lower project costs through Community Solar NY, including K- Solar, which will demonstrate PV in schools and aggregate solar projects to “solarize” entire neighborhoods.
"Governor Cuomo's NY-Sun initiative is providing New Yorkers across the state with the benefit of clean solar power, whether through their businesses, municipalities or homes,” said John B. Rhodes, President and CEO, NYSERDA. "These investments have multiple impacts, from reduced energy costs to lowered demand on the electric grid. This is a win-win for all New Yorkers."
Today’s large-scale PV project awards for 29 projects, which total $25.8 million, are made under the NY-Sun Competitive PV solicitation, which provides incentives for PV systems larger than 200 kilowatts, and is administered by NYSERDA. These projects will leverage $58.6 million in private investment, resulting in roughly $84.4 million in infrastructure projects.
The eight solar cost-reduction projects, which total $2.8 million in awards, were funded by NYSERDA and the New York Power Authority. Projects were selected to support efforts to reduce soft costs, such as business costs, customer acquisition costs, installation costs, and permitting and inspection costs. These “balance of system” costs can account for more than half of the total installed PV system cost.
“Governor Cuomo’s NY-Sun initiative underscores his commitment to renewable energy, advanced technology and the green economy,” said Gil C. Quiniones, president and chief executive officer, NYPA. “Public-private partnerships like those receiving funding today show how innovative strategies for reducing installation and other costs will help accelerate adoption of more solar power systems statewide.”
For more information on the NY-Sun initiative, visit www.ny-sun.ny.gov.
The NY-Sun awards announced today include:
Central New York
The Central New York region will host three new solar projects, to be installed by Solar City Corporation, all at the Onondaga County wastewater treatment plant. Also, the Central New York Planning Board was awarded $445,000 to establish a collaborative PV system procurement program for local government, institutional and non-profit customers in Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga and Oswego counties, and to provide technical assistance and outreach for local government officials and staff and for utilities on solar permitting, inspection, planning, zoning, interconnection and finance.
New York City
New York City will host ten new solar projects, four in Staten Island, including two at Supreme Chocolatier LLC installed by Energy Systems and Installations Inc.; as well as three in the Bronx installed by OnForce Solar Inc.; two in Brooklyn, including a project at Paidge Steel and Time Warner Cable installed by Steel Equities and a project installed by SoCore Energy; and one project in Queens installed by Dynamic Energy LLC.
In addition, funding for four “balance of system” projects in New York City includes:
- New York Solar Affordable Housing Program: Starting in New York City and expanding statewide, GRID Alternatives will develop the New York Solar Affordable Housing Program, which will eliminate all up-front customer expenses and most ongoing customer expenses for solar installations for low-income households. NYSERDA funding: $500,000.
- Community PV Purchasing Program: Solar One, with Sustainable CUNY, will implement a community purchasing program in New York City using best practices from its solar pilot project. It will also develop a long-term business structure for community purchasing of solar energy systems. NYSERDA funding: $382,046.
- Grid Ready Solar: City University of New York (CUNY), Con Edison and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will analyze the technical risk factors for grid interconnection in New York City and create public information identifying whether buildings are likely to face interconnection issues to help developers make informed decisions regarding project location and cost. NYSERDA funding: $318,568.
- NYSolar Smart - SunShares: Vote Solar Initiative (VSI), working with Sustainable CUNY, will reach out to affinity groups – including private sector employers, local governments, universities and non-profit organizations in New York City and one upstate region – to offer group purchasing of residential solar projects at a reduced cost. NYSERDA Funding: $224,832.
The Hudson Valley will host eight new solar installations, including five in Westchester County, with one at Carl Zeiss, Inc. to be installed by American Solar & Alternative Power LLC and one at Pearl Green Corp. to be installed by Solar Energy Systems LLC; as well as one at the Millbrook School in Dutchess County to be installed by SolarCity Corp. Also, BQ Energy LLC won an award to install a PV project in Putnam County and HudsonSolar (dba Hudson Valley Clean Energy Inc.) won one for a project in Ulster County, both of which are under development.
Also, the region will host a Westchester Solar initiative to lower the permitting and zoning barriers to solar installations in Westchester County municipalities and will arrange special pricing/group discounts for solar installations to reduce customer acquisition costs for installers, thereby reducing costs to consumers. Project partners are Energy Improvement Corporation (EIC), Pace Land Use Law Center, SmartPower, Northern Westchester Energy Action Consortium, Southern Westchester Energy Action Consortium, Abundant Efficiency LLC and Croton Energy Group. NYSERDA funding: $485,143.
Other regional projects will include:
WNY: Two sites in Buffalo, Erie County to be installed by BQ Energy LLC;
Finger Lakes: One site in Monroe County to be installed by Advanced Solar Products Inc.;
Mohawk Valley: Three new solar projects, including one to be installed at a City of Rome landfill by Global Resources Options LLC (dba groSolar) and one at the Oneida County DPW office and garage in Oriskany to be installed by Solar City Corp., and;
Capital Region: Three projects, one to be installed in Rensselaer County by SoCore Energy LLC and two to be installed in Washington County by SEC Northeast Solar One.
Several awards were made to statewide efforts to reduce balance of system costs, including:
Solar Marketplace: EnergySage has developed an online site called Solar Marketplace that helps homeowners, businesses and non-profits research and comparison-shop for PV systems. It will tailor the Solar Marketplace content to the New York market and promote the platform to potential solar customers. NYSERDA funding: $393,672.
Sunvestment: This project establishes third-party investment entities that enter into Power Purchase Agreements for small to medium-sized (10 kilowatt to 750 kilowatt) commercial solar projects, and makes the attractive returns of solar projects available to members of the local community. The award to Sunvestment Group, Keegan Associates and Phillips Lytle LLP provides funding for design of a web-based platform and refinement to legal documentation for demonstration projects. NYSERDA funding: $50,000.