New York: The Solar King of the U.S?
This week the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced that it awarded 16 companies a total of $30 million to support commercial solar photovoltaic projects. Not satisfied with just that, the state also announced requests for proposals for $107 million more in solar projects. Both the awards and the RFPs are being offered through the NY-Sun Initiative to help businesses in New York go solar.
“The program is called competitive PV program,” said NYSERDA spokesperson Kate Muller. Under the award of $30 million projects will be sited at manufacturing facilities, colleges and universities, schools, department stores, apartment complexes and other locations. The money will support 34 megawatts of solar projects that will come online in 2013. However, the it’s only supporting projects in Westchester County, the lower Hudson Valley and New York City.
“The new solicitation now includes upstate,” Muller said. “The new solicitation is basically statewide with the exception of Long Island which has its own program through the Long Island Power Authority.”
The funds will and are going to the project developers to help the commercial entities go solar at a lower cost. The projects will be behind-the-meter projects, which means that they will support onsite energy demand and won’t feed electricity back to New York’s grid, according to Muller.
The projects will help lower energy costs for the entities on which they are located as opposed to net-metered projects, which serve local use and feed excess electricity produced back to the grid. That’s a good thing, too because some utilities in New York are closing in on their net-metering requirements. For instance, Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. has reached it’s state-mandated net-metering goal. “That’s the only utility so far that has reached that cap. They’ve started to accept application while they’re waiting for the Public Service Commission to make a ruling,” Muller said.
The commission has the regulatory authority to raise the cap and it might be in the works. “There is a petition before the Public Service Commission. Like everyone else we’re waiting on their decision and the petition is to increase that net metering cap,” Muller said.
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