New York PSC lays groundwork for community net metering



In a key decision that will make clean energy more affordable and accessible to even more people across the state, the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) has announced new rules allowing for community net metering (CNM). The PSC’s innovative Shared Renewables Program, which will be launched later this year, is expected to especially benefit low and moderate-income families in New York.

“Once again, Governor Cuomo is leading by example, and we applaud both his efforts and his long-time vision for New York,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “Through his leadership, the Governor is trying to make certain that all New Yorkers – and not just some of them – will benefit from a clean energy future. For that to happen, equal access to solar is imperative. Community-shared solar projects are a great way to expand access and to make solar more affordable to even more people. As an industry, we commend the Governor and the state PSC for their commitment to renewable energy.”

New York’s aggressive efforts to expand its clean energy economy are continuing to produce impressive results, with the state ranking third in the nation in new solar capacity during the first quarter of 2015. New York trailed only California and Nevada in Q1, according to the U.S. Solar Market Insight Report compiled by GTM Research and SEIA.

Powered by a booming residential market, New York added 59 megawatts (MW) of new solar capacity in Q1, bringing its statewide total to 456 MW – enough to power nearly 80,000 homes. Most impressively, the 59 MW added in the first quarter represents a significant 176 percent increase over the same quarter last year.

The report went on to point out that New York had increases in Q1 across all solar sectors, but the residential and commercial markets showed the biggest jumps, with installed system prices dropping 12 percent in the last year – and down nearly 50 percent since 2010. All totaled, $186 million was invested in New York in the first quarter in new solar installations – and $638 million since the beginning of 2014.

“Because of the strong demand for solar energy, thousands of new, good-paying jobs have been added in New York, benefitting the state’s economy and environment,” Resch continued. “To put New York’s remarkable progress in some context, the 456 MW of solar installed in the state today is more than the entire country had in 2007. But for this growth to continue, stable and effective public policies, such as the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), need to be extended by Congress. That’s one of the best ways to ensure that New York reaches its fullest potential when it comes to clean energy development.”

Now there are 545 solar companies at work throughout the value chain in New York, employing nearly 7,300 people, representing manufacturers, contractors, project developers, distributors and installers. From an environmental perspective, solar installations in New York are helping to offset 371,000 metric tons of harmful carbon emissions, which is the equivalent of removing more than 78,000 cars off state roads and highways, or not consuming 42 million gallons of gasoline.