Major Investment in Photovoltaic Cells Increase Clean Energy Use, Reduce Demand on Electric Grid and Raise Visibility of Solar Power Solutions in Downstate New York
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the state Public Service Commission (PSC) have awarded $30 million to help fund large-scale solar power projects that will assist facilities in New York City and the lower Hudson Valley generate electricity for their own use.
The $30 million represents the first year of five years of planned funding under the $150 million, RPS Customer-Sited Tier Regional Program.
The money was awarded to solar installers, solar developers and real estate owners, including Alteris Renewables, Inc., altPOWER, Bright Power, ConEdison Solutions, Inc., Earthkind Energy, Inc., Martifer Solar USA, OnForce Solar, Inc., Ross Solar Group, LLC, SolarCIty, Solar Energy Systems, LLC, Solartech Renewables, SunEdison, and SUNation Solar, Inc., SunRay Power and MS Harrison LLC.
Potential projects include a wide variety of businesses, all of which are major consumers of electricity — department stores, discount stores, apartment complexes, Postal Service distribution centers and other sites in New York City and the Hudson Valley.
“The enthusiastic response to our solicitation confirms the important contribution that solar technology can play in addressing the energy, environmental, and reliability needs of the metropolitan New York City area,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO of NYSERDA. “The success of this program is another example of New York’s leadership in supporting investment in a wide range of renewable energy technologies.”
Garry Brown, Chairman of the state Public Service Commission, said: “We are very excited about promoting the growth of solar energy in New York City and the surrounding region. Developing renewable energy resources is a primary goal of the Commission. Programs that encourage renewable energy development will help ensure a cleaner environment and will enable us to take command of our energy future.”
The projects were selected through a competitive process. The NYSERDA incentive pays up to 50 percent of the cost of a project, up to $3 million.
In mid-2011, NYSERDA launched the $150 million RPS Customer-Sited Tier Regional Program encouraging large businesses, especially manufacturing facilities; colleges and universities; schools; and other large buildings to take advantage of renewable energy incentives specifically for New York City and the lower Hudson Valley. The incentives are for large-scale photovoltaic and biogas power initiatives.
NYSERDA will award up to $30 million each year, of which $25 million is targeted for New York City or Westchester County and $5 million is for the Hudson Valley region. The goal is to promote more clean-energy production in a part of the state that traditionally has been a large consumer of fossil fuels. The projects are meant to produce power for on-site use, not for direct sale to utilities. Under certain circumstances, however, unused power can be added to the grid in exchange for future utility credit.
The program is funded under the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). The RPS, created by the state Public Service Commission in 2004 to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, is administered by NYSERDA using a surcharge collected from ratepayers served by investor-owned utility companies. The funds help pay for more than a thousand clean-energy projects every year, ranging from large-scale wind farms to photovoltaic panels on private homes.