Community Solar for Contractors
Community solar (also called shared solar, solar farms, or community distributed generation) has brought solar access to more consumers than was previously possible. Renters, homeowners, low-income residents, schools, and businesses can now access the benefits of solar energy even if they were previously unable to.
Each community solar project must have at least 10 subscribers (excluding projects sited on master metered multifamily buildings with at least 10 residential units). Each subscriber must be allocated at least 1,000 kWh per year (not to exceed his or her historic average annual consumption). No more than 40% of the generation may serve large demand-metered (25 kW or greater) subscribers. Each utility has posted a complete set of procedures and documentation for community solar projects on its website.
This page provides contractors with a better understating of the stakeholders involved in community solar, identifies the requirements for community solar providers in New York State, and outlines available resources offered by NYSERDA.
Community Solar Stakeholders
A community solar provider is a company that organizes, owns, and/or operates a community solar project. A provider may also be called a sponsor, developer, or asset owner.
A community solar marketing representative may be hired to conduct marketing activities that are designed to result in the enrollment of customers with a community solar provider.
Prior to interconnection, the community solar provider sends the utility a list of subscribers and their percentage allocation of the credits produced by the project. The provider may update the list of subscribers on a monthly basis.
A subscriber is the customer that enrolls in a community solar project and receives credits on their electric utility bill.
NYSERDA offers innovative programs, like NY-Sun, which drives growth in the solar industry and aims to ensure a coordinated, well-supported solar energy expansion plan and a transition to a sustainable, self-sufficient solar industry.
The New York State Department of Public Service (DPS) is the regulatory agency responsible for ensuring safe, reliable service and reasonable rates for customers.
Community Solar Crediting
Anyone can subscribe to a community solar project as long as the project is in their utility and is not fully subscribed. In some cases, interzonal crediting restrictions still exist for projects that operate under net energy metering (NEM).
Uniform Business Practices for Distributed Energy Resource Suppliers (UBP-DERS)
Community Distributed Generation (CDG) Providers (sponsors) and/or their CDG Marketing Representatives are required to register with the New York State Department of Public Service (DPS) as a Distributed Energy Resource Supplier (DERS). Any company that is interacting with customers, such as through sales and marketing activities, is required to register. Companies that are solely developing projects are not required to register. Companies registered with DPS must abide by the Uniform Business Practices for Distributed Energy Resource Suppliers (UBP-DERS) established by the Public Service Commission (PSC). For information on how to register with DPS as a DERS, visit the DPS Distributed Energy Resource Regulation and Oversight website.
General Marketing Standards - According to the UBP-DERs, companies registered with DPS must uphold certain marketing standards. These include, but are not limited to, not engaging in misleading or deceptive conduct, not making false or misleading representations, making reasonable efforts to provide accurate and timely information written in plain language about rates, contract terms, termination fees, right of cancelation, and so on. For more information about general marketing standards applicable to community solar providers and other standards as required by the UBP-DERS, visit the DPS Distributed Energy Resource Regulation and Oversight website.
Net crediting is New York’s single bill solution for community solar. Through net crediting, the community solar subscription fee, originally received through a separate bill from the community solar provider to the customer, can now be recovered through the customer’s utility bill. In effect, community solar customers will now only receive one bill. Net crediting for Value Stack projects has been implemented in all utility service territories across the state and community solar providers may apply to enroll in net crediting with the appropriate utility.
Resources for Community Solar
Doing Solar Business in New York. NYSERDA developed a guide to help solar providers better understand the requirements and process for developing solar projects in New York State and available resources offered through NY-Sun. For more information, visit NY-Sun’s Doing Solar Business in New York page.
Incentives. Community solar providers may receive incentives from NYSERDA, as available, if they are a participating contractor in the NY-Sun program.
Map of Community Solar Projects. NYSERDA maintains a customer friendly map of community solar projects across New York State, making is easy for customers to locate available projects. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to add your project(s) to the map.