New York to fund $1.4 billion in renewable energy (22 large-scale solar projects)

new york solar projects

New York has made it clear it wants nothing to do with Trump’s plans for the energy sector or the environment and has announced the next steps in its own forward-thinking agenda. It starts with aggressive pro-renewable energy plan that commits $1.4 billion to advance 26 large-scale projects across the state – 22 of which will be solar installations. At the same time, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo formally requested an exclusion from the new five-year National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program.

“Instead of protecting our waters from another oil spill, like the one that devastated the Gulf, this new federal plan only increases the chances of another disaster taking place,” Governor Cuomo said. “This is a total disregard for science, reality, and history, and their actions defy everything we know. We believe the future is a clean energy economy and New York is going to lead a counter-movement to what this administration is doing to the environment and illuminate the path forward.”

Building on the momentum of these project awards, NYSERDA will issue the next solicitation for large-scale renewable energy under the Clean Energy Standard on April 25, 2018.

In January 2018, the federal government unveiled the Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas program, which proposes to make over 90 percent of the total offshore acreage in the United States available to oil and gas drilling. This plan would open two areas of the North Atlantic coast adjacent to New York State for fossil fuel exploration. An exclusion from offshore drilling program was granted to Florida shortly after its launch on the grounds that the state relies heavily on tourism as one of the nation’s top ocean economies.

The plan for $1.4 billion

The renewable projects chosen for the competitive awards, driven by the Governor’s Clean Energy Standard mandate, are expected to generate enough clean, renewable energy to power more than 430,000 homes and create over 3,000 short- and long-term well-paying jobs.

During the competitive selection process, bonus points were awarded to renewable energy projects that demonstrated a commitment to the creation of good local jobs and the use of locally-manufactured components and content. The criteria included scoring for the developer’s experience in constructing and financing renewable projects, the developer’s previous project development experience in New York, and the projects development status related to grid interconnection, permitting and site control.

In addition to the 22 utility-scale solar farms, other projects include three wind farms and one hydroelectric project. One of the wind farms features an energy storage component, marking the first time a large-scale renewable energy project has done so in New York State. Several projects will break ground as early as April 2018 and all projects are expected to be operational by 2022, adding over 1,380 megawatts of capacity and generating over 3,200,000 MWh annually.
Those 22 solar projects include

Capital Region

  • Columbia Solar 1, Columbia County: Hecate Energy will build a 60 MW solar facility in the town of Copake.
  • Darby Solar, Washington County: Granada Solar will build a 19.99 MW solar facility in the town of Easton.
  • Flint Mine Solar, Greene County: Hudson Energy Enterprises will build a 100 MW solar facility in the town of Coxsackie.
  • Greene County Energy Properties, Greene County: Greene County Energy Properties will build a 19.9 MW solar facility in the town of Coxsackie.
  • Pattersonville, Schenectady County: Teichos Energy will build a 19.99 MW solar facility in the town of Pattersonville.

Central New York

  • Janis Solar, Cortland County: Granada Solar will build a 19.99 MW solar facility in the town of Willet.
  • Sky High Solar, Onondaga County: Cypress Creek Renewables will build a 19.99 MW solar facility in the town of Tully.

Finger Lakes

  • Java Solar Energy Center, Wyoming County: Invenergy will build a 1.53 MW solar facility in the town of Java.


  • Blue Stone Solar, Ulster County: Geronimo Energy will build a 19.99 MW solar facility in the town of Saugerties.
  • Daybreak Solar, Ulster County: Geronimo Energy will build a 25 MW solar facility in the town of Shawangunk.
  • Little Pond Solar, Orange County: Cypress Creek Renewables will build a 19.99 MW solar facility in the town of Deerpark.
  • Magruder Solar, Ulster County: Granada Solar will build a 19.99 MW solar facility in the town of Gardiner.

Mohawk Valley

  • Double Lock Solar, Montgomery County: Cypress Creek Renewables will build a 19.99 MW solar facility in the town of Minden.
  • East Point Energy Center, Schoharie County: NextEra Energy will build a 50 MW solar facility in the town of Sharon.
  • Grissom Solar, Fulton County: Granada Solar will build a 19.99 MW solar facility in the town of Mayfield.
  • High River Energy Center, Montgomery County: NextEra Energy will build a 90 MW solar facility in the town of Amsterdam.
  • Rock District Solar, Schoharie County: Cypress Creek Renewables will build a 19.99 MW solar facility in the town of Carlisle.
  • Sunny Knoll Solar, Schoharie County: Cypress Creek Renewables will build a 19.99 MW solar facility in the town of Schoharie.
  • Tayandenega Solar, Montgomery County: Cypress Creek Renewables will build a 19.99 MW solar facility in the town of St. Johnsville.

Southern Tier

  • Branscomb Solar, Tioga County: Granada Solar will build a 19.99 MW solar facility in the town of Candor.
  • Puckett Solar, Chenango County: Granada Solar will build a 19.99 MW solar facility in the town of Greene.
  • Regan Solar, Chenango County: Granada Solar will build a 19.99 MW solar facility in the town of Guilford.
    Western New York

— Solar Builder magazine

Details on new shared solar project for low-income customers from Con Edison

New York solar power

The New York State Public Service Commission (Commission) today approved a large-scale solar project in New York City that will generate clean energy dedicated exclusively to saving low-income customers money on their utility bills while also protecting the environment. This is one of the first “shared solar” systems for low-income residents in New York State and is an important milestone in the Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) strategy.

The system will be constructed by Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. as a pilot project that could include up to 1,600 customers throughout its service territory. Once operational, the system is expected to save each customer roughly $5 a month from the solar energy sold back to the electric grid.

“This pilot program will not only show how community distributed generation, or CDG, can benefit a low-income neighborhood, it will also contribute to Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s visionary Clean Energy Standard adopted by the Commission last year,” said Commission Chair John B. Rhodes. “By serving low-income residents with clean energy, Con Edison is filling a niche that hasn’t been fully served in the state. Furthermore, we believe this project, and the insight gained from this pilot, will lead to market development of other shared solar arrays around the state that will bring the benefits of clean energy to more low-income customers.”

Shared solar systems are an important goal of REV, Gov. Cuomo’s comprehensive strategy to fight climate change and grow New York’s economy by building a cleaner, more-resilient and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers. The Department of Public Service and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) will continue their work with solar energy developers, low-income advocates, utilities and others to develop similar shared solar systems across the state. While the pilot project will initially produce 3 MW of power, Con Edison has proposed an expansion to 11 MW that could serve a total of 6,000 customers if the pilot is deemed successful. The solar panels will be placed on rooftops and property owned by Con Edison. It will help remove barriers that block low-income families in multi-family buildings from participating directly in solar energy projects.

Con Edison will select participants through a lottery process. Invitations will be sent to eligible customers who are enrolled in the company’s electric low-income affordability program, as well as the no-cost, energy-efficiency program offered by either Con Edison or NYSERDA. Support for environmental justice and energy affordability for all New Yorkers are foundational goals of REV.

Last year, the Commission approved the state’s first-ever energy affordability policy, which increases the budget for low-income discounts to $248 million, and provides an additional 550,000 low-income customers in direct cost relief each year. Notably, the new policy seeks to limit energy costs for low income New Yorkers, on average, to no more than six percent of household income — half of what many low-income households are currently paying. Supported by all Con Edison ratepayers, the shared solar pilot program would not require any upfront payments or separate on-going payments for low-income customers to participate, and participants would continue to receive all the benefits of the electric low-income affordability program.

Partnership between Clean Energy Group, Geli to focus on solar+storage for low-income communities

Con Edison believes the pilot program will also increase energy literacy and awareness, spurring additional participation in energy efficiency programs and will bring environmental benefits to communities that have borne the brunt of local air pollution. Statewide, the program will provide valuable lessons for designing future renewable energy programs. Similar benefits are expected from a REV demonstration project in Buffalo where National Grid is installing rooftop solar panels on 170 low- and moderate-income homes, as well as a few community organizations located on Buffalo’s East Side (known as the Fruit Belt).

— Solar Builder magazine

New York State develops toolkit to streamline community solar projects

community solar toolkit

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has developed a Solar PILOT Toolkit to assist the state’s municipalities in understanding and negotiating payment-in-lieu-of taxes (PILOT) agreements for solar projects larger than 1 MW, including community solar projects. Based on feedback from local government officials and solar industry representatives, NYSERDA developed the toolkit in response to the need for greater information on PILOT agreements as solar projects develop throughout the state.

The Solar PILOT Toolkit provides a framework for local taxing jurisdictions to negotiate payment agreements with solar developers. In addition to their clean energy and job-creation benefits, solar developments can yield significant financial value to municipalities through PILOT agreement payments. The toolkit addresses the lack of information on property tax issues around solar development and is designed to enable municipalities to work with developers to negotiate PILOT rates that benefit the community and make the projects financially attractive to developers and their customers.

“The Solar PILOT Toolkit will serve as a vital resource to help municipalities encourage the development of community solar projects and make sure they benefit the entire community,” Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA said. “Large-scale solar projects provide a great opportunity for communities across the state to take advantage of clean, renewable energy while advancing Governor Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy.”

16 community solar projects across Massachusetts being financed by Key Equipment Finance


The Toolkit offers guidance to counties, towns and school districts on the structure of a PILOT agreement as an alternative solution for community solar participants and developers in municipalities that opt-out of the tax exemption. It also includes templates for a single jurisdiction or multiple jurisdictions that municipalities can tailor to meet their needs in working with developers to negotiate an agreement.

The Toolkit is comprised of three elements: a model resolution to guide municipalities in exercising their legal authority to adopt a PILOT; a sample agreement that jurisdictions may use to draft an agreement with developers; and a PILOT Calculator with two options that offer guidance on methods to collect revenue.

New York State is undertaking significant changes in the way it generates and delivers electricity. As one example, community solar projects allow electric customers who are not able to install solar panels on their properties to own or subscribe to a portion of a community solar project, and benefit from the cost savings of clean generation.

As a method to promote the installation of clean energy, Section 487 of the Real Property Tax Law exempts the added assessment value of renewable energy projects, including solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, from local property taxes for 15 years. The law allows any taxing jurisdiction to “opt-out” of the tax exemption, which would then makes the PV system fully taxable.

Here was New York’s pro-renewables response after Trump pulled out of Paris Agreement


— Solar Builder magazine

Here was New York’s pro-renewables response after Trump pulled out of Paris Agreement

New York solar power

Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Accord caused an immediate reaction from states leading the country’s charge into renewable energy. New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed an executive order to commit New York to uphold the standards set forth in the Paris Accord and announced a U.S. Climate Alliance, along with California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., and Washington State Governor Jay R. Inslee, to convene U.S. states committed to upholding the Paris Climate Agreement and taking aggressive action on climate change.

Cuomo also announced the Clean Climate Careers initiative — a multi-pronged strategy to grow New York’s emerging clean energy economy and prepare the workforce for the long-term careers associated with this industry.

“As the federal government abdicates its responsibility to address climate change — at the ex-\pense of our environment and economy — New York is leading the nation in advancing a clean energy future,” Governor Cuomo said. “The Clean Climate Careers initiative is a groundbreaking investment, representing the largest state clean energy procurement in U.S. history. With this $1.8 billion initiative, New York continues to tackle the challenges of climate change and create the high-quality, good-paying careers of tomorrow.”

Clean Climate Careers

In partnership with the ILR School’s Worker Institute at Cornell University and Climate Jobs NY, this initiative focuses on accelerating energy efficiency and renewable energy growth to make New York a magnet for new energy technologies and creating 40,000 new, good-paying clean energy jobs by 2020.

As part of the first phase of the Clean Climate Careers initiative, New York State will make an unprecedented investment of up to $1.5 billion in major renewable energy projects, including wind and solar, and significantly expand energy efficiency and so-ar installations at public buildings. The investment will result in an additional 2.5 mil-lion megawatt-hours of electricity a year, representing the largest clean energy pro-curement by a state in U.S. history.

The Clean Climate Careers initiative is a bold, three-pronged strategy that connects in-vestment in clean energy technologies with the industry’s good-paying, quality jobs:

1. Investing in Clean Tech and Supercharging Renewable Energy Development: Making record investments in renewable energy to meet Governor Cuomo’s ambitious Clean Energy Standard target of achieving 50 percent of electricity from renewables by 2030 – and as a result New York is poised to double the State’s so-lar capacity from roughly 800 megawatts today to more than 1600 megawatts by the end of 2018.

2. Creating Clean Climate Careers: Making historic investment of up to $1.5 bil-lion in major renewable energy projects will create thousands of well-paying jobs for middle class New Yorkers across the State, while providing funding to train our workforce for lifetime careers in building efficiency, renewable energy, and other low-carbon sectors.

3. Advancing Environmental Justice: Establishing an Environmental Justice & Just Transition Working Group to develop priority programs and policies to help historical underserved communities – and those navigating the retirement of carbon-intensive energy plants – prepare for a cleaner, greener future.

Solar industry funding report for Q1 2017: Was there a ‘Trump effect’?

Details of phase one of the Clean Climate Careers initiative

The state will issue requests for proposals from qualified developers to build renewable energy projects that will generate 2.5 million megawatt-hours of electricity a year – enough to power approximately 350,000 homes. Combined, the RFPs are the first in a series of major procurements and are expected to result in the development of 40 to 60 large scale renewable energy projects by 2022 under the Clean Energy Standard.

The complementary solicitations by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the New York Power Authority will invest up to $1.5 billion in wind, commercial solar and solar arrays, small and large-scale hydro, fuel cell and other technologies.

The NYSERDA solicitation will procure 1.5 million MWh of electricity from renewable energy sources and the NYPA solicitation will procure an additional 1 million MWh. This investment in additional large-scale clean energy supplies will expand NYPA’s leadership role as the State’s largest supplier of renewable electricity. Both the NYSERDA and NYPA solicitations will lead to the creation of thousands of direct and indirect jobs from development, construction and operation of clean energy projects through 2022.

The state is committed to studying the feasibility of the types of economic efficiencies that can be achieved through the use of a Project Labor Agreement for the construction of Public Work projects associated with this initiative. Use of a PLA for such Public Works could bring broad participation by NYS registered apprentice programs and can lead to new apprenticeship opportunities for a great many New Yorkers working in construction.

$300 Million Investment in Energy Efficiency and Solar To Expand BuildSmartNY and K-Solar Programs
Accelerating the Governor’s BuildSmartNY and K-Solar initiatives, NYPA will double annual in-vestments in energy efficiency and solar deployments from $150 million to $300 million to get more clean, renewable energy into our local governments, public facilities, and schools. This $300 million is a mix of NYPA’s low-cost financing and additional private sector capital.

NYPA has established a new partnership with a consortium of banks that, will for the first time ever through NYPA, enable municipalities to access low-cost capital from commercial banks to finance energy efficiency and solar projects. Many local governments that are interested in energy efficiency projects and may not have previously qualified for financing will benefit from a more streamlined process and be able to obtain more competitive lending rates.

With this expanded investment, NYPA will conduct 1,000 energy efficiency and solar audits for municipalities and school districts by 2020 to help support prudent investments. The initiative will be available to all local governments and municipalities, who will have the opportunity to sign up and enrollment will be open before the end of 2017.

NYPA will also install more than 125 megawatts of solar capacity on schools and other public buildings by 2020, achieving a 300 percent increase in distributed solar projects at public facilities statewide. Through K-Solar and BuildSmartNY, NYPA partners with solar and energy efficiency companies to provide ‘turn-key’ solutions to its government customers, meaning local governments can easily receive design, construction management, commissioning, and financing services for their projects all at once.

These accelerated energy efficiency initiatives will create more than 2,000 new direct and indirect jobs.


— Solar Builder magazine

New York provides $11 million in funds for 11 microgrid projects

UGE microgrid best practices

Here’s an already installed microgrid in NY, developed by UGE.

New York State is going to fund 11 microgrid projects for $11 million as part of the second stage of the NY Prize Community Microgrid competition, says the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Microgrids provide critical power backup for homes, businesses, hospitals and other vital facilities during extreme weather events and emergencies, while supporting development of on-site cutting edge renewable energy technologies. Additionally, microgrids support New York State’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030.

“It’s critical that communities across New York have reliable power to provide vital services when they are needed the most,” Governor Cuomo said. “These awards will help local government modernize and harden their power infrastructure, as well as join this administration’s fight against climate change, and create a cleaner, greener, Empire State for all.”

As part of the competition, each Stage 2 winner will receive $1 million through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, which administers NY Prize, to conduct detailed engineering designs and business plans for a microgrid to bring local clean energy generation and backup power to their communities. In addition, winners advancing to Stage 3 of the competition will have access to financing for microgrid construction through NY Green Bank.

RELATED: Microgrids: Why are they gaining in popularity, what part does storage play? 

Since community microgrids and clean energy projects are not easily financed through traditional capital providers like banks, access to NY Green Bank financing will be especially important to the completion of these critical projects. NY Green Bank is prepared to facilitate up to $50 million in financing assistance per project to Stage 3 winners subject to its investment criteria, due diligence and financial analysis. This announcement represents a significant increase in financial support for the build-out of project designs in Stage 3 of NY Prize, in addition to the $20 million available through NY Prize. Stage 3 winners are expected to be announced by the end of 2018.

NYSERDA awarded over $8 million for Stage 1 of the competition to 83 communities across the State to conduct microgrid feasibility studies in 2015. Nearly 150 communities had applied for the initial stage of the competition. Utilities played an active role in Stage 1 of the competition by identifying “grid opportunity zones,” or geographic areas where microgrids may reduce utility system constraints, and defer expensive infrastructure investment costs. Utilities also assisted communities and other partners with submission of their applications. Funding for Stage 1 and Stage 2 totals nearly $20 million.

NY Prize applications came in from combinations of community organizations, local governments, non-profit entities, developers, for-profit companies and municipally owned utilities. The 11 projects receiving funding are in the following locations:

Capital Region: Empire State Plaza; University Heights
Central New York: City of Syracuse
Long Island: Town of Huntington; Rockville Centre; Village of Freeport
New York City: East Bronx; Clarkson Avenue; Sunnyside Yards
Southern Tier: City of Binghamton
Western New York: Buffalo-Niagara Medical Campus
The Town of Huntington microgrid project partners include TRC Energy Services, National Grid, PSEG Long Island, and the New York Power Authority. NYPA will provide financing directly for projects designated and implemented by the Power Authority.

— Solar Builder magazine