NYSERDA Announces Milestone of Two Gigawatts of Solar Capacity Installed in New York, Enough to Power Over 244,000 Homes
NY-Sun Initiative Has Fueled Nearly 1,800 Percent Solar Growth Since 2011, Leveraging $4 Billion in Private Investment and Supporting Nearly 12,000 Jobs Across the State
December 17, 2019
The New York Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) today announced that two 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 percent. Today’s 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 percent 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."
NYSERDA President and CEO Alicia Barton said, “Governor Cuomo’s NY-Sun initiative has made New York a national leader in distributed solar development and provided the support to make it an increasingly popular and affordable option for New Yorkers who want to lower their carbon footprint and energy bills. As we wrap up the end of the decade, today’s two gigawatt milestone is the State’s clean energy gift to all New Yorkers as we march towards Governor Cuomo’s commitment to meet 70 percent of our statewide electricity needs with renewable energy by 2030.”
The announcement was made yesterday by NYSERDA President and Chief Executive Officer 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-megawatt community solar project developed by ForeFront Power, LLC is fully subscribed and will provide clean electricity to more than 1,000 customers. The project known as ForeFront Power’s Mechanicville Community Solar Project will produce more than seven million kilowatt-hours of solar energy annually, the equivalent of taking more than 800 cars off the road. 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 megawatts 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 two gigawatts milestone being announced today 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;
- 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; and
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 two gigawatts of solar installed across the state, there is 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.
NYPA President and CEO Gil C. Quiniones said, “To help meet Governor Cuomo’s aggressive clean energy goals, the New York Power Authority, is leading by example with a pipeline of more than 200 MW of solar projects with its government customers. We, at NYPA, are working with our partners to install the largest solar rooftop in Manhattan at the Javits Center, an innovative community solar project at John F. Kennedy Airport, and arrays at many other state and local government entities that will help to lower our customers’ energy costs and meet their sustainability goals. We are pleased to help demonstrate that solar technology has become a feasible, accessible and affordable option for both public and private entities."
LIPA CEO Thomas Falcone said, “Today’s two gigawatt solar milestone shows New York is accomplishing the most ambitious climate agenda in the nation. LIPA and PSEG Long Island customers are saving money and reducing their carbon footprint with over 560 megawatts of installed distributed solar projects. Long Island is on track to meet our share of the State’s six gigawatt goal.”
NYSEIA Executive Director Shyam Mehta said, “ New York's achievement of two gigawatts of solar capacity, a dominant majority of which has been installed in the last five years, is continued proof of solar's ever-increasing cost-competitiveness compared to fossil fuel energy and is a reflection of the dedicated efforts of solar energy firms across the state as well as New York's political will and commitment to a clean energy future, as enshrined in the recently passed Climate Legislation and Community Protection Act . NYSEIA looks forward to continuing to work with NYSERDA and other stakeholders to remove market barriers to further accelerate solar deployment in the Empire State towards achieving its CLCPA-mandated goals of six gigawatts of distributed solar deployment by 2025 and 70 percent clean energy by 2030."
PSEG Long Island Director of Energy Efficiency and Renewables Michael Voltz said, “PSEG Long Island is a proven leader in advancing solar energy on Long Island and a proud supporter of the Governor’s Green New Deal. Our renewable energy programs have helped create a robust solar industry on Long Island--which has developed the largest concentration of solar installations in the state. We congratulate the State on its continued success to help provide a cleaner, greener environment for the future.”
Public Service Commission Chair John B. Rhodes said, "New York State has ambitious clean energy goals that require the smart, aggressive development of renewable energy and we are making remarkable progress. Last week, the Commission approved consolidated billing for community distributed generation that will significantly reduce market barriers to further accelerate the growth of community solar. Today's announcement represents an important milestone toward meeting Governor Cuomo’s Green New Deal target of 70 percent renewable electricity by 2030."
ForeFront Power Chief Strategy Officer Daniel Taylor said, “Community Solar has proven itself highly successful in increasing consumer choice, reducing consumer energy costs and deploying more renewable energy on the grid in New York. Our team at ForeFront Power applauds the State of New York, NYSERDA, and the New York Green Bank for driving solar energy adoption forward.”
Chair of the Energy and Telecommunications Committee, Senator Kevin Parker said, "As the Chair of the Energy and Telecommunications Committee, I am proud New York State is continuing to push initiatives that will make certain we are leading in the Clean Energy movement. Investing in two gigawatts of solar will ensure a clean energy future for our State, while allowing additional opportunity for green collar job opportunities for New Yorkers.”
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 towards 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.
New York State's Green New Deal
Governor Cuomo's Green New Deal is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation, putting the state on a path to being entirely carbon-neutral across all sectors of the economy and establishing a goal to achieve a zero-carbon emissions electricity sector by 2040, faster than any other state. It builds on New York's unprecedented ramp-up of clean energy including a $2.9 billion investment in 46 large-scale renewable projects across the state, the creation of more than 150,000 jobs in New York's clean energy sector, a commitment to develop nearly 1,700 megawatts of offshore wind by 2024, and 1,700 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2012.The recently passed Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act mandates the Green New Deal's nation-leading clean energy targets: nine gigawatts of offshore wind by 2035, six gigawatts of distributed solar by 2025, and three gigawatts of energy storage by 2030, while calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues fostering a green economy. The CLCPA also directs New York State agencies and authorities to collaborate with stakeholders to develop a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050 and aim to invest 40 percent of clean energy and energy efficiency program resources to benefit disadvantaged communities.
NYSERDA, a public benefit corporation, offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise, and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. NYSERDA professionals work to protect the environment and create clean-energy jobs. NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance innovative energy solutions in New York State since 1975. To learn more about NYSERDA’s programs and funding opportunities, visit nyserda.ny.gov or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram.
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