Enough Clean Solar Energy to Power Nearly 700,000 Additional New York Homes Annually

April 14, 2022

Governor Kathy Hochul, in advance of Earth Week, today announced that the State Public Service Commission has approved a new framework for the State to achieve at least ten gigawatts of distributed solar by 2030, enough to annually power nearly 700,000 average-sized homes. The roadmap, submitted by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the New York State Department of Public Service to the PSC, provides 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. Earth Week, which this year runs from April 18-22, is celebrated with events worldwide in support of the environment and to raise awareness for environmental protection and the care of our planet.

"The existential fight against climate change demands historic investments in renewable energy to bring us closer to a brighter, greener future," Governor Hochul said. "This roadmap to expand the NY-Sun initiative into a nation-leading blueprint for the development of distributed solar meets the moment to supercharge our economy and advance our climate goals."

The adopted framework includes an investment of $1.5 billion in ratepayer-funded incentives to extend the successful NY-Sun program and continue the marked reduction in project cost and incentives observed in the last ten years. The public investment will spur approximately $4.4 billion in private investment to bring awarded projects to fruition, for a total of $5.9 billion in expected investment over the mid- to late-2020s. 6,000 additional solar jobs will be created across the state, including with the State's first application of prevailing wage requirements 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 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.

The roadmap approved by the Commission and developed by DPS and NYSERDA carefully evaluated multiple strategies to deploy ten gigawatts or more of distributed solar by 2030 and determined that extending the State's successful NY-Sun initiative provides the most efficient 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 now-approved roadmap provides: 

  • 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, to 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;
  • 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.

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.

Chair of the Public Service Commission Rory M. Christian said, "The ardent support and encouragement of Governor Hochul has been integral to the continued development of and access to solar energy in New York State. The roadmap we approved today provides New York with the guidelines it needs to accelerate the transition to a clean-energy economy and meet our critically important climate goals."

President and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority Doreen M. Harris said, "Today's action by the Public Service Commission expands the state's highly successful NY-Sun initiative into one of the largest programs of its kind in the U.S. and will further solidify New York's standing as a national leader in distributed and community solar for years to come. This comprehensive expansion means more families and businesses, especially those in communities that have been historically underserved, will have access to clean, affordable solar electricity, while ensuring the workers who build these projects get fair wages. Reaching 10 gigawatts will leverage $9 billion in private investment and create thousands of family-sustaining solar jobs, demonstrating the tremendous benefits the state's clean energy transition is bringing to New Yorkers under Governor Hochul's leadership."

State Senator Todd Kaminsky said, "Today's approval by the PSC of the solar roadmap shows how we can meet the ambitious goals outlined in the CLCPA, with clean solar energy. We can encourage billions in private investment, and ensure disadvantaged communities benefit from this growth. I applaud NYSERDA, DPS and Governor Hochul for their forward-thinking strategy to grow New York's green energy economy and the steps taken to advance it."

Assemblymember Steve Englebright said, "We all have a stake in reducing the negative 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. I wish to thank Governor Hochul for the actions taken today they are a step in the right direction."

Assemblymember Michael Cusick said, "This expansion of the NY-Sun initiative is a crucial step in expanding our state's solar capacity and will help us to make great strides in working towards achieving the goals of the CLCPA. The continued expansion of our solar capacity is critical to building the energy grid of the future here in New York and protecting our environment for generations to come."

Eddie Bautista, Executive Director of the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance said, “The PSC decision to approve the solar framework is an important step toward realizing our clean energy future, but it is crucial that the state ensure a Just Transition. The commitment from NYSERDA to co-design solar initiatives to benefit frontline communities is welcomed, and we look forward to working with NYSERDA and other partners to center the needs of marginalized communities and ensure that we develop models to support community-ownership of distributed energy resources to advance self-determination and wealth generation for residents of frontline communities.”

Elizabeth Yeampierre, Executive Director of UPROSE said, "We are happy to see the PSC approve the 10GW solar roadmap, including the provisions to increase access to solar energy for frontline communities. However, more work needs to be done to utilize solar as an opportunity to center racial justice and operationalize a Just Transition.  We look forward to continuing to work with NYSERDA and other state partners on the design of solar initiatives to ensure that we are creating equitable solar models that not only increases solar in historically marginalized communities but supports community-led and community-owned solar and creates real local jobs and builds long term community wealth."

Thomas A. Callahan, President, NYS Conference of Operating Engineers said, "The PSC’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 and DPS 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 ensure we meet our CLCPA goals."

NYSEIA Executive Director Zack Dufresne said, "The Public Service Commission's approval of New York's 10 GW Distributed Solar Roadmap is a huge step towards meeting the state’s clean energy goals, and we look forward to the several years of market certainty this plan will provide. As the largest contributor of clean energy generation employment in New York State, the distributed solar industry embraces this opportunity to create even more good-paying jobs for New Yorkers, and appreciates that the Commission extended implementation of prevailing wage requirements to allow the industry time to adapt. NYSEIA and its member companies are proud to support New York State becoming the national leader in community solar, and we stand at the ready to ensure that the Empire State not only meets its environmental justice and distributed solar targets, but surpasses them.”

“We commend Governor Hochul, the New York State Public Service Commission, and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) for putting the pieces in place to reach the Governor’s 10 gigawatt distributed solar goal, and setting New York on a clear growth path for the next several years,” said David Gahl, senior director of state policy, East for the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “New York already has the largest community solar program in the country, and today’s order will boost community solar, helping to improve clean energy accessibility across the Empire State. We look forward to continuing to work with NYSERDA to implement these directives.”

Gary LaBarbera, President of the New York State Building and Construction Trades Council said,  “By expanding the NY-Sun initiative, New York will stand to benefit from thousands of new middle-class careers in the sustainable economy, while powering upwards of 1.7 million homes with clean energy and directing investment toward underserved and disadvantaged communities facing the crises of both inequity and climate change. We thank Governor Hochul and NYSERDA for their leadership in expanding this important program that is essential to the future of New York’s sustainable economy.”

"New York's clean energy future is bright today, thanks to the leadership from the New York Public Service Commission, DPS, NYSERDA, and Governor Hochul, " said Kaitlin Kelly O'Neill, Northeast Regional Director for the Coalition for Community Solar Access. "The approval of the 10GW Roadmap, and the critical role that community solar will continue to play in helping the state reach its climate and energy justice goals, demonstrates why New York has been, and will continue to be, a national clean energy leader."

Anne Reynolds, Executive Director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York, stated, “New York’s commitment to the rooftop and community solar market has been impressive and consistent, and today’s news is New York maintaining that leadership position and fully committing to 10 gigawatts of solar. It is great news for the solar industry, for solar installers and construction workers, and for all New Yorkers that will appreciate cleaner air.”

Vincent Alvarez, President of the New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO and Principal Officer of Climate Jobs NY, said, “Expanding the NY-Sun initiative with a prevailing wage requirement for projects above 1 megawatt is an important step towards meeting our climate goals, creating good union jobs in the solar industry, and driving much needed renewable energy investment in disadvantaged communities. We look forward to continuing to advance a bold clean energy investment agenda that raises labor standards in the solar industry and ensures the clean energy transition creates thousands of good union jobs for New Yorkers.”

Michael Welsh, International Vice President, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers said, “Today, New York’s Public Service Commission took an especially crucial step on the road to a cleaner environment and Just economy in New York by approving NYSERDA’s Tier 4 and distributed solar initiatives. The major energy projects borne from these programs will create well over ten thousand prevailing wage construction jobs, inject Billions of dollars into New York’s economy and vastly improve the state’s air quality. These projects will be a major component to achieving New York’s nation leading Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. The IBEW recognizes NYSERDA’s commitment to helping workers in transitioning industries as critical and one in which we will stand together to achieve. We look forward to continuing our partnership with all stakeholders to bring these important initiatives to fruition and applaud the Public Service Commission for these important approvals.”

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.