Nexamp completes community solar project in Seneca, New York, part of state’s Green New Deal

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The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced the completion of Nexamp’s 2.6 MW community solar project in the Town of Seneca, N.Y., of which 1 MW will be used to provide no-cost solar subscriptions in New York State Electric and Gas Corporation’s (NYSEG) utility territory. Nexamp Seneca was one of nine projects awarded contracts last December under the first round of the state’s Solar for All program. The project supports Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Green New Deal and proposed new mandate for 70 percent of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030 and complements “Finger Lakes Forward,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development.

Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA said, “As New York builds on its ag-gressive efforts to combat climate change under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, NYSERDA is proud to be advancing the Solar for All program to make sure our most underserved homeowners and renters have greater access to renewable energy sources like solar. Nexamp and other Solar for All developers continue to make solar a reality for more New Yorkers.”

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Administered by NYSERDA as part of Governor Cuomo’s $1 billion NY-Sun program, the Solar for All program is designed to provide no-cost community solar to 10,000 low-income homeowners and renters in support of the state’s ongoing efforts to make re-newable energy more accessible to all New Yorkers. Solar For All offers eligible low-income households the opportunity to subscribe to a community solar project in their area without any upfront costs or participation fees. Through the Solar for All program, the Nexamp Seneca project will reserve approximately 20 percent of project capacity, up to 1 megawatt, for eligible homeowners and renters to subscribe. Today’s an-nouncement was made at a ribbon cutting for the project which will serve customers in NYSEG’s Central New York region as well as the rest of NYSEG’s utility territory.

“Making the benefits of solar accessible to everyone is core to our mission as a compa-ny,” notes Zaid Ashai, CEO of Nexamp, “so being selected as a NYSERDA Solar for All partner is a meaningful achievement for us. New York is leading the way in its commitment to carbon-free electricity, and community solar promises to be a central part of the solution. Deploying local, renewable resources that enable that all residents, regardless of income, to participate and reduce their energy costs is a goal that Nex-amp and NYSERDA share.”

Eligibility for Solar for All is based on a resident’s location, household income, and an-nual electric usage. For more information on Solar for All eligibility and to sign up, homeowners and renters are encouraged to visit: www.nyserda.ny.gov/solarforall. Res-idents who need help answering questions about Solar for All can email solarforall@nyserda.ny.gov or call 1-877-NYSMART. NYSERDA will launch a second round of the program later this year, which will expand the number of house-holds and areas served.

Customers not eligible for the Solar for All program can subscribe through Nexamp di-rectly at www.solarforny.com and save 10 percent on utility costs for the life of the pro-ject.

Nexamp, which was also awarded a contract in the first round of awards for their 5.6 megawatt community solar project in the Town of Rochester in Ulster County, expects to have more than 20 community solar farms operating or under construction through-out New York by the end of 2019. The company, which owns and operates solar pro-jects across the country, addresses the entire community solar project lifecycle, from design and construction through ongoing maintenance, operations, and customer management.

— Solar Builder magazine

How New York State’s ‘Green New Deal’ plans to be carbon-free by 2040

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced details for a Green New Deal plan that will lead New York state to a carbon-free by 2040 goal. Here’s how.

What’s already happened

During Governor Cuomo’s first two terms, New York banned fracking of natural gas, committed to phasing out coal power by 2020, mandated 50 percent renewable power by 2030, and established the U.S. Climate Alliance to uphold the Paris Agreement. Under the Reforming the Energy Vision agenda, New York has held the largest renewable energy procurements in U.S. history, solar has increased nearly 1,500 percent, and offshore wind is poised to transform the State’s electricity supply to be cleaner and more sustainable.

Green New Deal Details

The Green New Deal will statutorily mandate New York’s power be 100 percent carbon-free by 2040, the most aggressive goal in the United States and five years ahead of a target recently adopted by California. The cornerstone of this new mandate is a significant increase of New York’s successful Clean Energy Standard mandate from 50 percent to 70 percent renewable electricity by 2030. This will require

• Quadrupling New York’s offshore wind target to 9,000 megawatts by 2035, up from 2,400 megawatts by 2030
• Doubling distributed solar deployment to 6,000 megawatts by 2025, up from 3,000 megawatts by 2023
• More than doubling new large-scale land-based wind and solar resources through the Clean Energy Standard
• Maximizing the contributions and potential of New York’s existing renewable resources
• Deploying 3,000 megawatts of energy storage by 2030, up from 1,500 megawatts by 2025
Develop an Implementation Plan to Make New York Carbon Neutral

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The Green New Deal will create the State’s first statutory Climate Action Council, comprised of the heads of relevant State agencies and other workforce, environmental justice, and clean energy experts to develop a comprehensive plan to make New York carbon neutral by significantly and cost-effectively reducing emissions from all major sources, including electricity, transportation, buildings, industry, commercial activity, and agriculture.

The Climate Action Council will consider a range of possible options, including the feasibility of working with the U.S. Climate Alliance to create a new multistate emissions reduction program that covers all sectors of the economy, including transportation and industry, and exploring ways to leverage the successful Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to drive transformational investment in the clean energy economy and support a just transition.

The Green New Deal will also include an ambitious strategy to move New York’s statewide building stock to carbon neutrality. The agenda includes:

• Advancing legislative changes to strengthen building energy codes and establish appliance efficiency standards
• Directing State agencies to ensure that their facilities uphold the strongest energy efficiency and sustainability standards
• Developing a Net Zero Roadmap to chart a course to statewide carbon neutrality in buildings
A Multibillion Dollar Green New Deal Investment in the Clean Tech Economy that will Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Cuomo is announced $1.5 billion in competitive awards to support 20 large-scale solar, wind and energy storage projects across upstate New York. These investments will add over 1,650 megawatts of capacity and generate over 3,800,000 megawatt-hours of renewable energy annually. Combined with the renewable energy projects previously announced under the Clean Energy Standard, New York has now awarded more than $2.9 billion to 46 projects statewide, enough to power over one million households.

These new investments build upon a $250 million commitment to electric vehicle infrastructure by the New York Power Authority’s EVolve program, $3.5 billion in private investment in distributed solar driven by NYSERDA’s NY-Sun program, and NY Green Bank transactions mobilizing nearly $1.75 billion in private capital for clean energy projects.

Plan for Underserved Communities

The Green New Deal will help historically underserved communities prepare for a clean energy future and adapt to climate change by:

• Giving communities a seat at the table by codifying the Environmental Justice and Just Transition Working Group into law and incorporating it into the planning process for the Green New Deal’s implementation.
• Directing the State’s low-income energy task force to identify reforms to achieve greater impact of the public energy funds expended each year in order to increase the effect of funds and initiatives that target energy affordability to underserved communities.
• Directing each of the State’s ten Regional Economic Development Councils to develop an environmental justice strategy for their region.

Finance a Property Tax Compensation Fund to Help Communities Transition to the Clean Energy Economy: Governor Cuomo is introducing legislation to finance the State’s $70 million Property Tax Compensation Fund to continue helping communities directly affected by the transition away from dirty and obsolete energy industries and toward the new clean energy economy. Specifically, this funding will protect communities impacted by the retirement of conventional power generation facilities.

Protect Labor Rights: To ensure creation of high-quality clean energy jobs, large-scale renewable energy projects supported by the Green New Deal will require prevailing wage, and the State’s offshore wind projects will be supported by a requirement for a Project Labor Agreement.

Develop the Clean Tech Workforce: To prepare New York’s workforce for the transition, New York State will take new steps to support workforce development, including establishing a New York State Advisory Council on Offshore Wind Economic and Workforce Development, as well as investing in an offshore wind training center that will provide New Yorkers with the skills and safety training required to construct this clean energy technology in New York.

— Solar Builder magazine

New York is doubling its solar goal to 6 GW installed by 2025

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the state is doubling the NY Sun solar goal to 6 GW by 2025, extending the state’s existing incentive program and launching a new round of large-scale solar awards. This all lines up with the Million Solar Strong New York campaign launched by Vote Solar and a coalition of industry, environmental, clean energy advocacy partners that called on lawmakers to establish a goal of 1 million solar-powered homes across New York by 2023.

“Achieving an equitable clean energy economy will only happen when all New Yorkers, including low-income families and disadvantaged communities, benefit from the clean energy transition, and we will continue pushing lawmakers and working with allies on the frontlines of this movement to ensure that the transition to clean energy serves all New Yorkers,” said Sean Garren, Senior Northeast Director at Vote Solar.

This plan to double the NY Sun goal and extend the incentive program will provide much needed certainty for the distributed solar market. The announcement of 16 new large-scale solar awards builds on the 22 solar projects selected last spring.

“Together, these groundbreaking investments in solar energy will create thousands of jobs, generate billions of dollars in investment, and bring clean and affordable energy to the residents of New York state,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association. “We look forward to working with the Governor’s Office and the Legislature to bring New Yorkers all the benefits that solar has to offer.”

— Solar Builder magazine

Here’s New York’s plan for $250 million in energy storage funding

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The New York Power Authority (NYPA) announced a new commitment to invest $250 million between now and 2025 to accelerate the flexibility of the electric grid to give New Yorkers greater access to renewable energy resources such as wind and solar power. The multi-pronged, collaborative investment will address key market and financing barriers, accelerate implementation of up to 150 megawatts (MW) of grid flexibility projects and decrease market risk.

The project supports the goals in the New York Energy Storage Roadmap, which identifies recommended actions toward realizing the state’s nation-leading 1,500 MW storage deployment target by 2025—the equivalent electricity demand of one-fifth of all New York homes.

“Building more flexibility into the electricity grid will expedite the transition to a renewable energy future and play a critical role in achieving the state’s energy goals,” said NYPA Chairman John R. Koelmel. “Strong partnerships with customers and the private sector will be essential if we are to both demonstrate the opportunities and rapidly address the challenges presented by deployment of storage and demand flexibility on New York’s electric grid.”

Check out our 12 Days of Storage articles

Learn and test demos

NYPA will invite New York State’s distribution utilities and 51 municipal and rural cooperative electric systems to conduct collaborative test-and-learn demonstrations to determine the capabilities and value of various storage and demand management tools that could be used to provide services to the grid. With its open sourced innovation, NYPA will also be looking for partners in the public and private sector as it identifies initial locations for the first tranche of projects.

“Our primary intent is to use the experiences gained from test-and-learn projects to provide value to customers,” said Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA’s president and CEO. “At the same time, we can demonstrate to regulators and market participants the ways in which these flexibility tools increase the efficiency of the grid, and inform the process of creating mechanisms that enable private markets to invest in them at scale.”

Many of the services will focus on energy storage and demand management. Energy storage is essential in transition from fossil fuels to a clean energy economy to ensure that renewable energy resources are available at the right times—when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing—and at the right location that provides the most benefits to the electric grid.

Fund allocation

The initial phase of funding, approved today by the NYPA Board of Trustees, directs up to 30 percent of the $250 million to be allocated into three primary new demonstration programs through the end of 2020, including:

Energy Infrastructure: Identify and demonstrate opportunities to deploy storage and demand flexibility to defer, reduce or avoid investments caused by locational congestion or retiring plants and infrastructure.

Distributed Energy Resources: Optimize the role that behind-the-meter customer energy resources and buildings can play in supporting a clean, renewable energy system, and simplify the role that these resources play in the New York energy markets.

Renewable Generation: Pair storage and renewables for longer intermittency durations, build flexibility into the generation and transmission system to balance different geographical locations of renewables and explore longer duration demand flexibility.

The balance of the $250 million will be directed into accelerating storage and demand flexibility, with specific projects dependent on emerging market needs, collaborative project proposals with third-parties and customer preferences.

The flexibility initiative further builds on NYPA’s green energy commitments, adding to a $250 million seven-year program roll-out, Evolve NY, announced in May to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles by expanding fast-charging infrastructure on major traffic corridors and in urban hubs throughout the state. The combined investments will help the state lead the fight against climate change by significantly reducing greenhouse gases and cleaning the air for all New Yorkers.

— Solar Builder magazine

New York sets in motion first nine community solar projects in its Solar For All program

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The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority announced that nine community solar projects throughout New York have been awarded contracts through the “Solar For All” program. This is the first in a series of awards under the program to provide access to no-cost community solar to 10,000 low-income New Yorkers.

How it works

As part of Governor Cuomo’s $1 billion NY-Sun program, Solar For All offers eligible low-income households the opportunity to subscribe to a community solar project in their area without any upfront costs or participation fees. By enabling consumers to subscribe to a local community solar project, these projects increase access to solar for homeowners and renters who may not have ideal conditions to install solar panels at their location.

Energy is still delivered through their regular electric provider while the power produced from the community solar array is fed directly back to the electric grid. As a result, the grid is supplied with clean, renewable energy while subscribers get credit on their electric bills.

New York utilities seek demand charges in REV mass market rate design proposals

Details on the first projects

Solar for All projects selected in the first round will serve approximately 7,000 low income homeowners and renters who receive electric service from NYSEG, National Grid, Central Hudson, and Orange & Rockland. In addition to savings on participant electric bills, some of the selected projects have also committed to additional community benefits, including donations to local organizations serving families in need, educational programs for local schools, and committing additional project capacity to subscriptions for low-to-moderate income households.

The Solar for All contracts were awarded to groups located in these towns and regions:

• Town of Crawford (Mid-Hudson): Clearway Energy Group: Crans Mill is a 2.8 megawatt community solar project of which 1 megawatt will be used to provide no-cost solar subscriptions in Orange and Rockland’s utility territory.

• Town of Grand Island (Western New York): BlueRock Energy Solar, Inc.: BlueRock Grand Island is a 2.1 megawatt community solar project of which 1 megawatt will be used to provide no-cost solar subscriptions in National Grid’s utility territory in western New York.

• Town of Johnstown (Mohawk Valley): Common Energy: Johnstown A and B are two community solar projects – 2.8 megawatts and 2.0 megawatts – adjacent to each other, and will provide 1 megawatt each for no-cost solar subscriptions in National Grid’s Capital Region utility territory.

• Town of Mooers (North Country): Delaware River Solar: Boas #4 is a 2.7 megawatt community solar project of which 1 megawatt will be used to provide no-cost solar subscriptions in NYSEG’s northern New York region as well as the rest of NYSEG’s utility territory.

• Town of Poughkeepsie (Mid-Hudson): Clearway Energy Group: Underhill is a 3.0 megawatt community solar project of which 1 megawatt will be used to provide no-cost solar subscriptions in Central Hudson’s utility territory.

• Town of Rochester (Mid-Hudson): Nexamp: Nexamp Rochester is a 5.6 megawatt community solar project of which 1 megawatt will be used to provide no-cost solar subscriptions in Central Hudson’s utility territory.

• Town of Seneca (Finger Lakes): Nexamp: Nexamp Seneca is a 2.6 megawatt community solar project of which 1 megawatt will be used to provide no-cost solar subscriptions in NYSEG’s Central New York region as well as the rest of NYSEG’s utility territory.

• Town of Thompson (Mid-Hudson): Delaware River Solar: Sackett Lake is a 2.8 megawatt community solar project of which 1 megawatt will be used to provide no-cost solar subscriptions in NYSEG’s utility territory in the Mohawk Valley region.

Funding for this program is provided by the state’s 10-year, $5.3 billion Clean Energy Fund (CEF), a core component of New York State’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy to achieve a clean, resilient, and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers. NYSERDA will launch a second round of the program in 2019, which will expand the number of households and areas served by the program.

— Solar Builder magazine