More Than Two Gigawatts of Community Solar Has Been Installed in New York
Milestone Represents Enough Clean Energy to Serve 393,000 Homes and Reaffirms State’s Position as Top Community Solar Market in the United States
November 28, 2023
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced more than two gigawatts of community solar has been installed in New York – enough to serve 393,000 homes, reaffirming the State’s position as the top community solar market in the United States. This community solar milestone contributes to five gigawatts of distributed solar operating across the state, with 3.3 gigawatts in development. Today's announcement demonstrates significant progress towards achieving New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act goal to install six gigawatts of distributed solar by 2025, on the path to 10 gigawatts by 2030.
“New York’s two-gigawatt community solar achievement proves our commitment to a building a clean and healthy future,” Governor Hochul said. “Our ongoing investment in community solar generates measurable benefits for our health, our environment, our economy, and for the thousands of New Yorkers who can now enjoy lower electric bills, all thanks to our ability to harness the power of the sun.”
Community solar enables access to solar for homeowners, renters and business owners who may not have ideal conditions to directly install solar panels onsite. Through this arrangement, clean energy is still delivered by a customer’s regular electric providers, and the power produced from the solar array is fed directly back into the electric grid. As the electric grid is supplied with clean, renewable energy, subscribers receive a credit on their electric bills for their portion of the solar system’s output.
To date, community solar makes up 61 percent of total solar installations across the State this year. In addition, New York's distributed solar pipeline is now comprised of more than 8,700 projects, which once completed will provide 3,297 megawatts of clean energy, enough to power more than 600,000 New York homes. Building on this progress, in October, NYSERDA opened a second round of solicitations for the Inclusive Community Solar and Expanded Solar for All programs, which together aim to secure over 1,140 megawatts of community solar dedicated to low- and moderate-income (LMI) households and disadvantaged communities.
The State's success in deploying community solar is confirmed by the latest Wood Mackenzie Solar Market Insight quarterly report which ranks New York as the all-time national leader in installed community solar, as well as number one in 2023 for community solar installations, number two in overall distributed solar and number five for residential solar.
NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, “New York is steadfast in its commitment to achieving our Climate Act goals, and every milestone reached is one step closer to a more reliable, equitable, zero-emissions electric grid. As the top market in the nation, community solar will continue to be a vital model to deliver clean, low-cost renewable energy to places where rooftop-mounted solar panels aren’t feasible, ensuring more New Yorkers realize the benefits of this renewable resource.”
The achievement of this milestone has been underpinned by robust support from NYSERDA's NY-Sun program, the State's signature $3.3 billion solar initiative. Currently, installed distributed solar projects, combined with the projects that are under development, bring the State to 83 percent of the current goal to install 10 gigawatts of distributed solar by 2030.
Northeast Regional Director for the Solar Energy Industries Association Valessa Souter-Kline said, “Now is the time to double down on this momentum to secure a future powered by low-cost, clean solar power in New York. The solar and storage industry looks forward to working with NYSERDA, Governor Hochul and other leaders to bolster programs that expand community solar and uplift communities across the state.”
Northeast Director for the Coalition for Community Solar Access Kate Daniel said, “This milestone is a true testament to the commitment of our partners at NYSERDA, as well as to the many benefits of community solar. We look forward to working with the State to expand access to community solar even further, so that all New Yorkers can share in the promise of a clean energy economy.”
President of the New York League of Conservation Voters Julie Tighe said, “As the climate crisis grows more urgent by the day and the health of our population and planet continue to suffer the damaging effects of burning fossil fuels, we can no longer afford to just talk about renewable energy, we need to deliver real projects on the ground. The installation of more than two gigawatts of solar energy is a big step to meeting the state’s renewable energy goals and a major win for public health and the environment. We applaud Governor Hochul and NYSERDA President Doreen Harris for taking strong action to ensure New York is a national leader in solar energy production.”
Executive Director of New York Solar Energy Industries Association Noah Ginsburg said, “Community solar expands equitable access to clean energy by providing solar power and utility bill savings to New Yorkers, including renters and low-income families. Rapidly deploying community and rooftop solar is key to achieving New York’s ambitious decarbonization goals. NYSEIA congratulates Governor Hochul, NYSERDA and the distributed solar industry on surpassing two gigawatts of installed community solar capacity.”
Northeast Regulatory Director for Vote Solar Lindsay Griffin said, “It's exciting to see New York hitting a major community solar milestone that will expand renewable energy access to hundreds of thousands of homes statewide. This achievement milestone highlights impressive near-term progress, but more ambitious distributed solar targets that drive greater NYSERDA and NYPA investments are essential to rapidly and justly transition the state to clean energy.”
New York State's Nation-Leading Climate Plan
New York State's nation-leading climate agenda calls for an orderly and just transition that creates family-sustaining jobs, continues to foster a green economy across all sectors and ensures that at least 35 percent, with a goal of 40 percent, of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities. Guided by some of the nation’s most aggressive climate and clean energy initiatives, New York is on a path to achieving a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and economywide carbon neutrality by mid-century. A cornerstone of this transition is New York's unprecedented clean energy investments, including more than $55 billion in 145 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce building emissions, $3.3 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives and over $2 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. These and other investments are supporting more than 165,000 jobs in New York’s clean energy sector in 2021 and over 3,000 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality, New York also adopted zero-emission vehicle regulations, including requiring all new passenger cars and light-duty trucks sold in the State be zero emission by 2035. Partnerships are continuing to advance New York’s climate action with nearly 400 registered and more than 100 certified Climate Smart Communities, nearly 500 Clean Energy Communities, and the State’s largest community air monitoring initiative in 10 disadvantaged communities across the state to help target air pollution and combat climate change.
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