Community Solar Industry Applauds Final Approval of Governor Hochul’s Bold Distributed Solar Goal

April 14th, 2022

New York Public Service Commission gives green light to plan including 10 GW of distributed solar by 2030

 

Albany, NY —  Today the New York Public Service Commission approved a framework developed by NYSERDA and Department of Public Service staff for meeting Governor Kathy Hochul’s goal of at least 10 gigawatts (GW) of distributed solar by 2030 for New York state. The proposal will expand the NY Sun Initiative to make solar energy more accessible to homes, businesses and communities, and was roundly praised by distributed solar advocates, including the Coalition for Community Solar Access. 

“New York’s clean energy future is bright today, thanks to the leadership from the New York Public Service Commission, DPS, NYSERDA, and Governor Hochul,”  said Kaitlin Kelly O’Neill, Northeast Regional Director for the Coalition for Community Solar Access. “The approval of the 10GW Roadmap, and the critical role that community solar will continue to play in helping the state reach its climate and energy justice goals, demonstrates why New York has been, and will continue to be, a national clean energy leader.”

The plan would increase the community solar and rooftop solar deployed across New York to amounts that could power 700,000 additional homes annually. The plan also includes the state’s first prevailing wage requirement for projects over one megawatt and outlines how 40 percent of the program’s benefits shall be delivered to disadvantaged communities and low-income residents.

The swift course to expand the NY Sun Initiative includes Governor Hochul’s announcement of the target in September 2021, the development of the roadmap by NYSERDA in December 2021, and today’s NYPSC approval. 

The approved plan includes provisions for: 

  • 70% of capacity expected to be constructed as community solar; 30% expected to be rooftop and commercial and industrial;
  • 1600 MW of new incentives to be directed toward low and moderate income and disadvantaged communities, dedicating $600 million in total investments;
  • Requiring all projects 1 MW and over to hire labor at prevailing wage; and
  • Seeking $1.45 billion in funding for the NY Sun expansion, with the expectation it will spur $4.4 billion in private investment and create an additional 6,000 solar jobs.    

In November, national modeling experts Vibrant Clean Energy released a report that found accelerating the growth of local community and rooftop solar on New York’s electric grid can save New York more than $28 billion by 2050 and is the lowest cost path to meeting the decarbonization and climate justice mandates of New York’s landmark Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). The law, which was passed in 2019, requires New York to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and mandates that 40% of state climate and energy funding be invested in disadvantaged communities (DACs). 

Governor Hochul recently announced New York as the nation’s top community solar market, heralding the milestone of 1 GW installed, the equivalent of powering 200,000 homes.

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About Coalition for Community Solar Access

The Coalition for Community Solar Access is a national Coalition of businesses and non-profits working to expand customer choice and access to solar for all American households and businesses through community solar. Our mission is to empower every American energy consumer with the option to choose local, clean, and affordable community solar. We work with customers, utilities, local stakeholders, and policymakers to develop and implement policies and best practices that ensure community solar programs provide a win, win, win for all, starting with the customer. For more information, visit https://www.communitysolaraccess.org and follow the group on Twitter and LinkedIn.