New York backs community solar initiatives

Communities across New York are coming together to bring affordable solar power to their localities at a discounted cost of up to 20% thanks in part to state initiatives aimed at supporting solar development.

More than two dozen campaigns have launched as part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision plan, which assists communities in obtaining solar installations as large groups rather than individual households, making it cheaper for everyone involved. In addition, the program helps remove many of the obstacles that inhibit solar options, such as feasibility studies and finding the right contractor, according to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).

“Solar power is helping to save money and conserve energy across the state – and one of the best ways for local communities to install solar infrastructure is to come together and take advantage of even more cost-effective rates,” Cuomo said.

The NYSERDA has partnered with 26 community campaigns across the state to encourage more New Yorkers to sign on to the Community Solar NY program. The solarize campaigns are located in Long Island, the Capital Region, the Finger Lakes, Central New York, Southern Tier, North Country and the Bronx. They are managed by community partnerships that include local municipalities, planning organizations, sustainability groups, state legislators, business groups, and Native American tribes, among others.

The Community Solar NY program supports the campaigns by providing marketing materials, a streamlined customer acquisition platform, technical assistance and funding.

Richard Kauffman, chairman of Energy and Finance for New York said, "Communities are at the core of Reforming the Energy Vision and it is validating to see so many neighborhoods enthusiastically choose to inspire the next generation of New Yorkers by investing in clean and reliable solar power."

NYSERDA President and CEO John B. Rhodes added, “Governor Cuomo’s groundbreaking energy strategy calls for expanding power production systems located at businesses, homes, schools and in communities. Community Solar NY is off to a very strong start, demonstrating that communities are excited to adopt solar and to reduce their costs by working together.”

New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision initiative includes programs like the $1 billion NY-Sun Initiative, to advance the scale-up of solar and move the state closer to having a sustainable, self-sufficient solar industry, and K-Solar, which provides technical and financial support to enable public schools to install solar with no upfront costs.

In addition, Cuomo announced earlier this month a $160 million investment plan to boost large scale clean energy projects across the state.