Governor Andrew M. Cuomo is championing a plan that will advance New York State’s solar sector by “light years” within a very short timeframe. On March 28, Cuomo awarded $46 million more in funding for 76 large-scale solar energy projects—which are expected to add 52 megawatts to the Empire State’s rapidly expanding solar portfolio.
The announcement follows a year of unprecedented statewide solar growth as a result of the NY-Sun initiative. The initiative was designed to install in 2012 twice the customer-sited PV capacity that was added during 2011—and to quadruple that amount in 2013 through expanded competitive and open enrollment opportunities. As a result of NY-Sun, more photovoltaic (PV) systems are now being deployed in the state than in the entire prior decade
The $46 million from New York State, awarded through a competitive program, leverages $100 million in private investment, resulting in a cumulative $146 million in infrastructure projects. The initiative brings together and expands existing programs administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), and the New York Power Authority (NYPA), to ensure a coordinated, well-funded solar energy expansion plan. The current solar program is investing $800 million through 2015. However, Governor Cuomo proposed in his 2013 State of the State address to extend the annual funding for the successful NY-Sun program through 2023.
Specifically, awards are being made to 28 recipients to finance 76 large-scale (over 50 kilowatts) solar energy projects in 33 counties across the state. Installations will be located at businesses, factories, municipal buildings and other larger commercial and industrial companies, and are expected to be on line by the end of this year. Funding per project is capped at $3 million, and all projects require co-funding to best leverage state resources.“The NY-Sun initiative is driving the growth of solar energy systems that will help businesses and municipalities benefit from cost-effective, on-site electricity generation,” said Governor Cuomo. “At the same time, it is building the State’s clean-energy economy and growing jobs, showcasing once again that New York is a leader in renewable energy and environmental stewardship.”“Governor Cuomo’s NY-Sun initiative has been the catalyst for the unprecedented growth of solar power in the state,” said Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO, NYSERDA. “Large projects such as the ones announced today highlight the fact that public-private partnerships are having a significant positive impact on the state’s ability to diversify its renewable energy portfolio, reduce demand on the electric grid and stimulate economic activity.”
Two Rounds of Funding Ahead
The current are made under the first of three rounds of the Competitive PV solicitation, which is a key element of New York’s Renewable Portfolio Standard program. Second round proposals have been received, and proposals for the third round are due August 29, 2013.A steady decline in the cost of constructing PV projects since the Competitive PV Program’s launch in 2011 has enabled significant reductions to the incentives that are awarded. In 2011, the portfolio-weighted average incentive awarded was $1.30 per Watt, while in 2012 it had dropped to $0.93 per Watt. The new awards represent a further decline to $0.88 per Watt, or about 30 percent of the cost to build these projects.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 solar developers or host sites that served as prime applicants receiving these awards consist of: Advanced Solar Products, Amberjack Solar, Carlisle Construction Materials, Community Energy Solar LLC, Constellation New Energy Inc., County Agency of NY LLC, Distributed Sun LLC, Dynamic Solar LLC, Energy Systems and Installations, EnterSolar LLC, Half Moon Ventures LLC, HelioSage Energy, HPP/Icetime LLC, Hudson Solar/Hudson Valley Clean Energy (News - Alert) Inc., Jordan Energy and Food Enterprises LLC, LighthouseSolar, National Grid Energy Management, OnForce Solar, RER Energy Group, Sealing Devices Inc., SEC KC Solar One LLC, SEC Newco LLC, SoCore Solar NY Project LLC, SolarCity (News - Alert), Soltage VUL 1600 Chemung LLC, Spear Point Energy, Sun Edison Commercial Solutions LLC and Village of Wappinger Falls.
In addition to the Competitive PV program, NYSERDA also offers a smaller-scale solar PV program (projects of 50 kilowatts or less) under the NY-Sun Initiative. Funding under this program is $3.1 million per month in 2013. This standard-offer, non-competitive open- enrollment program provides funding for systems up to 7 kilowatts for residential sites and up to 50 kilowatts for non-residential sites.
The NY-Sun Competitive PV Program solicitation can be found here.
Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli