New York’s Gov. Kathy Hochul has declared a framework for the state to achieve at least 10 GW of distributed solar by 2030. The roadmap, submitted by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the New York State Department of Public Service (DPS) to the Public Service Commission for public comment and approval, proposes a comprehensive strategy to expand the state’s NY-Sun initiative into one of the largest and most inclusive solar programs of its kind in the nation, helping to increase access to solar for more New Yorkers.
In addition to spurring approximately $4.4 billion in private investment and creating 6,000 additional solar jobs across the state – including with the state’s first application of prevailing wage for solar projects between 1 and 5 MW – the program expansion will also deliver at least 35% of the benefits with a goal of 40% from the investments to statutorily-defined disadvantaged communities and low-to moderate- income New Yorkers. This announcement supports the State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act mandate to generate 70% of the state’s electricity from renewables by 2030 as part of a resilient and equitable transition to a clean energy economy.
“In New York, we recognize the time to act on climate change is now – we simply cannot wait as we have seen the impacts of this crisis devastate our communities, our businesses, and our economy,” says Gov. Hochul. “Strengthening our commitment to solar energy will help build healthier, more resilient communities while catalyzing quality, good paying new jobs in this thriving sector of our clean energy economy.”
NYSERDA and DPS carefully evaluated multiple strategies to deploy 10 GW or more of distributed solar – projects that are under 5 MW in size, including rooftop installations and community solar projects – by 2030 and determined that extending the state’s NY-Sun initiative provides the most efficient, familiar and cost-effective path forward.
The roadmap proposes at least 1,600 MW of new solar capacity to benefit disadvantaged communities and low-to-moderate income New Yorkers, with an estimated $600 million in investments serving these communities. At least 450 MW will be built in the Con Edison electric service area (covering New York City and parts of Westchester), increasing the installed solar capacity in this area to over 1 GW by the end of decade. At least 560 MW will be advanced through the Long Island Power Authority. There is also a new requirement that workers associated with the construction of NY-Sun supported projects that are greater than 1 MW be paid the applicable prevailing wage. Projects that have submitted their initial utility interconnection application prior to the filing of this roadmap are proposed to be exempt from the new prevailing wage requirement.
Expanding the state’s solar goal is expected to have an average bill impact for New York customers of less than 1%, or approximately $0.71 per month for the average residence. The roadmap is available for public comment on the Department of Public Service’s website and subsequent decision-making in 2022.
“Governor Hochul has made clear that increasing access to solar energy is a central part of New York’s all-inclusive strategy for decarbonizing the power grid and reducing harmful emissions to improve air quality and public health,” comments Doreen M. Harris, president and CEO of NYSERDA. “This comprehensive roadmap provides the market with the critical framework it needs to continue to thrive in New York and will help us build on the progress we’ve achieved under NY-Sun to further pave the way toward the realization of our climate and clean energy goals.”
“I would like to thank Governor Hochul for her ardent support, encouraging the development of and access to solar energy in New York State,” says Rory M. Christian, CEO of DPS. “The roadmap that has been developed provides New York with the tools it needs to accelerate the transition to a clean-energy economy and meet our critically important climate goals.”
Since the NY-Sun initiative was launched, NYSERDA has worked closely with local governments, agricultural communities, other state agencies and a wide range of stakeholders to ensure that projects are developed and sited in a manner that fully considers land use and are advanced in close collaboration with local stakeholders and agricultural communities. NYSERDA will extend its ongoing technical assistance for all municipalities in the state to assist localities in aligning solar development with local priorities. In addition, projects sited in New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets’ designated Agricultural Districts must follow Guidelines for Agricultural Mitigation for Solar Energy Projects and will be subject to an additional review process with the NYSDAM, as well as with local agricultural boards. Those projects that exceed 30 acres of impact to prime agricultural soils will be subject to mitigation fees.
View more responses to the announcement here.