NY merging solar incentive programs

New York is transitioning its multiple solar programs to the single, statewide NY-Sun Incentive Program, with the aim of adding more than 3GW of generation capacity by 2023.

“Merging these programs into the NY-Sun Incentive Program will stimulate development of solar projects across this state, and sends a clear message that New York is a leader in solar energy innovation,” says Governor Andrew Cuomo.

“This approach will help the industry plan for the future, spur new development and aid in New York’s transition to a cleaner, cheaper and more efficient energy grid,” he adds.

The merger of programs will occur by 28 August.

Cuomo’s office says the consolidation effort will support the state’s vibrant solar economy through the $1bn NY-Sun Incentive Program (NY-Sun), a public-private partnership launched in 2012 as a two-year pilot program and since extended. It has delivered 316MW of solar PV installations or under contract thus far.

NY-Sun will administer programs now overseen by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), PSEG Long Island, and New York Power Authority (NYPA).

NY-Sun involves deploying public funds in a strategic manner to drive industry to scale and reduce burdens on ratepayers. It provides financial support for solar projects and uses a proven megawatt (MW) “block system” approach that is responsive to changing market conditions, allowing the solar market in each region of the state to grow at its own pace.

The block system divides the state into three regions – Con Edison territory, Long Island and Upstate. It assigns each region separate MW blocks and incentive levels for residential solar projects up to 25kW and small non-residential solar projects up to 200 kW.

When the MW target for the first block in each sector (residential or small non-residential) within a region is reached, that block is closed and a new block for the sector is started with a new MW target and a lower incentive level.

After all the blocks are filled for a particular region and sector, an incentive for that region and sector will no longer be offered.

"The days of start-and-stop solar incentive programs are over. The NY-Sun Incentive Program will provide much needed funding certainty and transparency to the market to stimulate continued private sector growth of the solar industry,” claims NYSERDA chief executive John B. Rhodes.

While growth of solar in the residential sector has been very successful on Long Island, small non-residential solar growth has been slower.

NY-Sun now will increase the size of non-residential systems eligible for incentives from 100 kW to 200 kW. It also now provides incentives for non-residential systems that are installed through power purchase agreements and leases, a strategy that is expected to stimulate market investment.