Governor Hochul Announces New Framework to Achieve at Least 10 Gigawatts of Distributed Solar by 2030
Enough to Annually Power Nearly 700,000 Additional New York Homes
December 17, 2021
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced a framework for the State to achieve at least ten gigawatts of distributed solar by 2030, enough to annually power nearly 700,000 homes. The roadmap, submitted by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the New York State Department of Public Service (DPS) to the Public Service Commission for public comment and approval, proposes a comprehensive strategy to expand the state's successful NY-Sun initiative into one of the largest and most inclusive solar programs of its kind in the nation, helping to increase access to solar for more New Yorkers. In addition to spurring approximately $4.4 billion in private investment and creating 6,000 additional solar jobs across the state - including with the State's first application of prevailing wage for solar projects between one and five megawatts - the program expansion will also deliver at least 35 percent of the benefits with a goal of 40 percent from the investments to statutorily-defined disadvantaged communities and low-to moderate- income New Yorkers. Today's announcement supports the State's Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act) mandate to generate 70 percent of the state's electricity from renewables by 2030 as part of a resilient and equitable transition to a clean energy economy.
"In New York, we recognize the time to act on climate change is now — we simply cannot wait as we have seen the impacts of this crisis devastate our communities, our businesses, and our economy," Governor Hochul said. "Strengthening our commitment to solar energy will help build healthier, more resilient communities while catalyzing quality, good paying new jobs in this thriving sector of our clean energy economy."
NYSERDA and DPS carefully evaluated multiple strategies to deploy ten gigawatts or more of distributed solar —projects that are under five megawatts in size, including rooftop installations and community solar projects— by 2030 and determined that extending the State's successful NY-Sun initiative provides the most efficient, familiar, and cost-effective path forward. Achieving the state's expanded solar goal is expected to generate enough clean electricity per year to power nearly 700,000 additional New York homes, including those in disadvantaged communities.
Importantly, the Roadmap proposes:
- Enough new clean, renewable energy to annually power 700,000 additional homes;
- At least 1,600 megawatts, enough to power 280,000 homes, of new solar capacity to benefit disadvantaged communities and low-to-moderate income New Yorkers, with an estimated $600 million in investments serving these communities;
- At least 450 megawatts, enough to power nearly 79,000 homes, be built in the Con Edison electric service area (covering New York City and parts of Westchester), increasing the installed solar capacity in this area to over one gigawatt, enough to power nearly 175,000 homes, by the end of decade;
- At least 560 megawatts, enough to power 98,000 homes, to be advanced through the Long Island Power Authority; and
- A new requirement that workers associated with the construction of NY-Sun supported projects that are greater than one megawatt be paid the applicable prevailing wage, demonstrating the State's commitment to ensuring projects create quality, family-sustaining jobs for New Yorkers and planning for a just transition. Projects that have submitted their initial utility interconnection application prior to the filing of this Roadmap are proposed to be exempt from the new prevailing wage requirement.
Expanding the state's solar goal is expected to have an average bill impact for New York customers of less than one percent, or approximately $0.71 per month for the average residence. The Roadmap is available for public comment on the Department of Public Service's website and subsequent decision-making in 2022.
Doreen M. Harris, President and CEO, NYSERDA said, "Governor Hochul has made clear that increasing access to solar energy is a central part of New York's all-inclusive strategy for decarbonizing the power grid and reducing harmful emissions to improve air quality and public health. This comprehensive roadmap provides the market with the critical framework it needs to continue to thrive in New York and will help us build on the progress we've achieved under NY-Sun to further pave the way toward the realization of our climate and clean energy goals."
Rory M. Christian, CEO of DPS, said, "I would like to thank Governor Hochul for her ardent support, encouraging the development of and access to solar energy in New York State. The roadmap that has been developed provides New York with the tools it needs to accelerate the transition to a clean-energy economy and meet our critically important climate goals."
Since the NY-Sun initiative was launched, NYSERDA has worked closely with local governments, agricultural communities, other state agencies, and a wide range of stakeholders to ensure that projects are developed and sited in a manner that fully considers land use and are advanced in close collaboration with local stakeholders and agricultural communities. NYSERDA will extend its ongoing technical assistance for all municipalities in the state to assist localities in aligning solar development with local priorities. In addition, projects sited in New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets' designated Agricultural Districts must follow Guidelines for Agricultural Mitigation for Solar Energy Projects[PDF] and will be subject to an additional review process with the NYSDAM, as well as with local agricultural boards. Those projects that exceed 30 acres of impact to prime agricultural soils will be subject to mitigation fees.
Today's announcement builds on the state's success under NY-Sun whereby installed distributed solar projects, combined with the projects that are under development, bring the State to 95 percent of the current Climate Act goal to install six gigawatts of distributed solar by 2025. In 2020, New York was ranked first in the nation in new community solar installations and second for total distributed solar installations. Since 2011, NY-Sun, New York State's $1.8 billion initiative to advance the scale-up of solar and move the State closer to having a sustainable solar industry, has:
- Fostered 12,000 jobs in the solar industry;
- Supported 114,000 completed projects with nearly 6,000 in active development in the NY-Sun pipeline - together, enough to power more than 2.2 million homes;
- Installed solar on the rooftop or property of 145,000 homes spanning every county in New York;
- Provided over $1 billion in incentives, leveraging $5.6 billion in private investment;
- Driven over 2,100 percent solar growth in the State;
- Delivered enough clean, renewable energy to power over 522,000 New York homes;
- Helped to drive down the cost of solar 69 percent in 10 years; and
- Allocated $135 million for projects benefiting low-to-moderate income households and disadvantaged communities.
Senator Kevin Parker said, "As the Chair of the Energy and Telecommunications committee I applaud NY Sun for implementing initiatives that have made our state a leader in the development of distributed solar. As we continue to advance toward the goals established through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, we must prepare for the next steps which will help us surpass these goals and create good jobs with a livable wage and benefits in the clean energy industry. I am pleased to see NYSERDA and the Department of Public Service take this important step forward toward reaching 10 gigawatts of distributed solar here in New York State."
Senator Todd Kaminsky said, The roadmap released today shows how we can meet ambitious goals with clean solar energy, encourage billions in private investment, and ensure disadvantaged communities benefit from this growth. I applaud NYSERDA and DPS for their forward thinking strategy to grow New York's green energy economy.
Assemblymember Steve Englebright said, "We all have a stake in reducing the negate consequences of climate change. In 2019, I sponsored the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act requiring the PSC to establish a program in the clean energy standard to ensure that 70 percent of the state's electricity is generated from renewable sources by 2030 and 100 percent from emissions-free sources by 2040. The actions taken today are a step in the right direction."
Vincent Albanese, Director of Policy and Public Affairs for the New York State Laborers' Organizing Fund said, "The results of this white paper prove that renewable energy projects of all sizes and in all areas of the state can be built with labor that is being paid a prevailing wage. NYSERDA's has been a national leader in its commitment to ensuring a just transition for workers in the energy industry. We continue to applaud their commitment to our members."
Eddie Bautista, Executive Director, NYC Environmental Justice Alliance said, "Expanding access to solar across the state ensures more New Yorkers, especially in historically underserved communities of color, can benefit from clean electricity and is major step forward for climate justice. We look forward to helping New York State reach these new heights that will help reduce harmful emissions while providing significant job and economic opportunities for all."
Thomas A. Callahan, President , NYS Conference of Operating Engineers said, "NYSERDA's announcement today is great news for New York's environment and great news for New York's workers. Requiring prevailing wages on solar projects larger than 1mw ensures that our best in the nation workforce are part of the team in delivering for New York's green energy future. NYS Conference of Operating Engineers is proud to partner with NYSERDA on this announcement that ensures workers are treated fairly while New York invests in the clean energy of tomorrow. Combined with New York's commitment in last year's budget defining large scale renewables as public work, these announcements are great first steps in ensuring middleclass jobs and New York's working men and women will be doing the jobs that ensures we meet our CLCPA goals."
NYSEIA Executive Director Zack Dufresne said, "NYSEIA commends Governor Hochul and her administration for their leadership in setting up New York State as a national trailblazer in distributed solar energy development. Aspiring for 10 GW of solar through the expansion of the NY-Sun program, as outlined in this Roadmap, will lead to thousands of good-paying jobs and continue to position solar energy as a vital pillar in New York's economy. We also applaud the administration's support for environmental justice provisions, and direct funding for projects that benefit New York's disadvantaged communities. This Roadmap is an ambitious investment in New York's clean energy future, and while there are many details yet to be reviewed and discussed, NYSEIA looks forward to working with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the Public Service Commission on collaborating to meet New York's laudable distributed solar and environmental commitments."
David Gahl, senior director of state policy, East for the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) said, "This proposal would establish long-term funding to expand the solar incentive program, creating certainty for the solar industry and customers while putting New York on the path to achieve Governor Hochul's goal of installing at least 10 gigawatts of distributed energy. The plan encourages community solar and extends incentives for low-to-moderate income customers, helping to ensure that all New Yorkers can participate in the clean energy transition. We look forward to working with Governor Hochul, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, and the Department of Public Service during the regulatory process."
Gary LaBarbera, President of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, said, "This roadmap is yet another important step toward ensuring New York remains at the forefront of innovation and opportunity in the sustainable economy. By expanding the NY-Sun initiative, thousands of more middle-class careers will be created for New York's hardworking men and women. We applaud Governor Hochul and NYSERDA for their continued commitment to setting the gold standard for the renewable energy sector right here in New York."
Kaitlin Kelly O'Neill, northeast regional director for the Coalition for Community Solar Access said, "We're happy to see the roadmap filed by NYSERDA clearly reflects the value community solar has brought to New York, and will continue to provide to the state as it works toward achieving its larger climate goals. The expanded resources to bring greater access to disadvantaged communities will increase clean energy equity and economic benefits while continuing to advance decarbonization efforts."
Anne Reynolds, Executive Director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York said, "New York continues to be steadfast in its efforts to continue to grow the solar industry in the Empire State. In September, we welcomed Governor's Hochul's announcement of a bold new goal of 10 gigawatts for distributed solar, and now we look forward to digging into this blueprint for how it will be achieved. Our member companies look forward to continuing to invest in - and create new jobs in - New York."
Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters said, "New York State needs to supercharge its solar capacity to meet our renewable energy goals, and Governor Hochul's commitment to go beyond the CLCPA's requirements by nearly doubling the amount of distributed solar in the State is a critical step forward. We thank the Governor for her leadership and commend NYSERDA and DPS for kicking off a process that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and boost the clean energy economy."
Jeff Vockrodt, Executive Director of Climate Jobs NY, said, "This is an exciting step toward meeting New York's emissions-reductions goals, ensuring that our state's clean-energy transition creates good union jobs and careers, and promoting investments in disadvantaged communities. The prevailing wage requirement for projects above 1 megawatt is crucial for building a high-road solar industry, and we look forward to continuing to advance labor standards in the solar industry and across the clean-energy sector, so we can build an energy transition that works for everyone."
Michael Welsh, International Vice President, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, said, "New York, already a leader in the effort of climate protection and good, clean jobs, is yet again moving the ball forward and setting standards with today's Framework by NYSERDA and the Dept. of Public Service to increase the goal by 2030 to 10 Gigawatts of installed distributed solar. This bold step will require all stakeholders to join together to make this effort a reality but, in doing so, will create many and good jobs with the required prevailing wage on projects above one megawatt. These thousands of good paying jobs will provide upward mobility to NY residents from all ten regions of the state and the IBEW looks forward to playing a key role in these good jobs being great careers in the electrical industry. We support the NYSERDA and DPS framework and applaud them for their leadership."
Elizabeth Yeampierre, Executive Director of UPROSE, said, Decades of frontline community leadership has helped position New York State to be a leader in creating a more just and equitable solar market. Solar development is an opportunity to center equity to operationalize a Just Transition and redress the legacy of harm from burning fossil fuels in historically marginalized communities. UPROSE hopes the State will continue to make strides in supporting community-led solar projects to reduce emissions in disadvantaged communities, increase access to local renewable energy, create well-paying green jobs, and build long-term community wealth."
New York State's Nation-Leading Climate Plan
New York State's nation-leading climate agenda is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation, calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues fostering a green economy as New York State recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Enshrined into law through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York is on a path to achieve its mandated goal of a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and to reach economy wide carbon neutrality. It builds on New York's unprecedented investments to ramp-up clean energy including over $33 billion in 102 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce buildings emissions, $1.8 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $1.6 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. Combined, these investments are supporting nearly 158,000 jobs in New York's clean energy sector in 2020, a 2,100 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011 and a commitment to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035. Under the Climate Act, New York will build on this progress and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, while ensuring that at least 35 percent with a goal of 40 percent of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities, and advance progress towards the state's 2025 energy efficiency target of reducing on-site energy consumption by 185 trillion BTUs of end-use energy savings.