In an effort to increase solar generating capacity in downstate New York, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the state Public Service Commission (PSC) are offering a total of $30 million to support PV installers and developers. It’s the first year of funding under a $150-million, five-year program intended to increase the amount of solar electricity used in the region where energy use is highest.
The funds can cover up to $3 million or 50 percent of a large-scale onsite PV installation.
“This is the first time we’ve done something of this scale,” said NYSERDA spokesperson Alan Wechsler.
The funds are intended to support projects that are largely behind-the-meter projects, wherein all the power produced onsite is used there, rather than going back on the grid, although in some instances the site can net meter.
“It’s a bit of a unique project because it’s awarded to the contractors,” Wechsler said. “They find the companies that want to install solar.”
Under the program, funds are allotted to projects in five separate payments. Two payments are made up front to help defray construction and other upfront costs, and the remainder are paid out over three years after the projects are completed and generating power.
The funds will be awarded on a competitive basis to those entities selected by the authority and commission.
Those companies include Alteris Renewables, altPOWER, Bright Power, ConEdison Solutions, Earthkind Energy, Martifer Solar USA, OnForce Solar, Ross Solar Group, SolarCIty, Solar Energy Systems, Solartech Renewables, SunEdison, and SUNation Solar, SunRay Power and MS Harrison.
“We’re keeping all the costs [and awards] quiet because they’re bidding on how much they want to accept from us,” Wechsler said.
Under the program developers will target businesses, including large retailers, department stores, discount stores, apartment complexes, manufacturing facilities and shopping complexes, according to Wechsler.
“There’s all these rooftops, and a lot space [for solar],” he said.
The pot of money is funded through an assessment on customers’ electric bills in New York. It’s a small, permanent assessment designed to increase the state’s share of energy from renewable resources.
Image courtesy of NREL.