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

New York to help fund solar projects for low-income communities

new york solar funding

Andrew Cuomo is a friend of solar.

What won’t New York do at this point to boost solar installations? Gov. Andrew Cuomo just announced $3.6 million in funding to give low- to moderate-income communities greater access to solar energy across the state. The funding will help affordable housing providers and community organizations overcome barriers they often face in advancing solar and clean energy projects.

“Clean energy is key to combatting climate change and we must ensure that the development and use of these cutting edge technologies are not only available to the wealthy,” Governor Cuomo said. “Through this effort, we are helping New Yorkers to save money and are building a cleaner and more resilient New York for all.”

Find more info on applying for the funds here.

Overcoming barriers

Multiple barriers unique to serving low to moderate income communities can delay the progress of solar projects, including financing, procurement, marketing and customer outreach, and other components necessary for successful project development. Community organizations and affordable housing providers are critical partners in developing solutions to these barriers and achieving access to solar for LMI households. However, these entities often lack the financial resources, solar market experience or staff capacity to bring a solar project from concept to operation. This funding opportunity aims to fill this gap by providing these on-the-ground allies with the resources they need to get solar projects off the ground and delivering clean power where it matters most.

RELATED: Community Solar Legal Primer: From project structure to consumer protection 

Richard Kauffman, New York State Chairman of Energy and Finance, said, “Under Governor Cuomo, New York is ensuring all communities have access to renewable energy under his Reforming the Energy Vision strategy. From enabling community solar to providing support like this for pre-development work in underserved areas, our policies and programs are using new and innovative solutions for solar project development across our state so everyone can benefit from lower energy bills and be part of New York’s clean energy future.”

The funding is made available through the Governor’s NY-Sun Initiative and is being administered in addition to the State’s $234 million commitment under the Clean Energy Fund for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects for LMI households. A total of 40 percent of New York State households have incomes considered low to moderate, which means they earn less than 80 percent of the median income in their area.

The $3.6 million is offered on a competitive basis through the NY-Sun Affordable Solar Predevelopment and Technical Assistance initiative. It will focus on solar projects that offer meaningful benefits to LMI customers and affordable housing providers, and demonstrate economically viable project models. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority is administering the initiative.

 

Applications will be accepted through Aug. 31, 2018, or until funds are exhausted. Individual project awards will not exceed $200,000.

— Solar Builder magazine

What’s the cost of installing solar in New York?

New York solar power

New York City paid the highest amount per KW installed, at $2,493 / kW.

As home solar installations surge in New York State, Solar to the People has released a study detailing the cost of solar in metro areas across the state. Solar to the People is a website with the mission to provide independent information on home solar for homeowners, solar installers and policymakers.

The actual cost of installing solar is a point of confusion for many homeowners, and this study aims to provide transparency for New York state homeowners who are considering making the switch.

Lowest cost of residential solar per kW (kilowatt) by metro area, first six months of 2015

1) Buffalo Area – $1,365 / kW
2) Ithaca Area – $1,479 / kW
3) Utica Area – $1,486 / kW
4) Rochester Area – $1,517 / kW
5) Syracuse Area – $1,633 / kW
6) Elmira Area – $1,647 / kW
7) Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess Counties – $1,826 / kW
8) Orange and Rockland Counties – $1,842 / kW
9) Albany Area – $1,860 / kW
10) North Country – $1,982 / kW
11) Long Island – $2,335 / kW
12) Kingston Area – $2,383 / kW
13) New York City – $2,493 / kW

Key study findings:

• The average cost of purchasing home solar in New York in the first half of 2015 was $15,137, after rebates and incentives.
• Rebates and incentives reduced the cost of solar on average 50.5%.
• This average cost equates to $2,084 / kW (kilowatt) installed, after rebates and incentives.
• The Buffalo area paid the lowest amount per KW installed, at $1,365 / kW.
• New York City paid the highest amount per KW installed, at $2,493 / kW.

The study includes both before and after incentive costs paid by New York homeowners in the first half of 2015. The study includes costs on average solar installations in a region, as well as average costs per kW (kilowatt) installed. Data was obtained from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), which runs the NY-Sun solar incentive program.

Be sure to check out the entire study.

— Solar Builder magazine

Sunrun secures $25 million loan from NY Green Bank

NY Green Bank just closed a $25 million loan for Sunrun Inc., which will accelerate construction of more than 5,000 solar projects at homes across New York State. This loan complements a separate $25 million NY Green Bank transaction with Sunrun, announced by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo last month, which provides longer-term financing following completion of the projects.

Sunrun logoWith both construction and longer-term financing in place, Sunrun will be able to meet the growing demand from homeowners and expand its ability to finance the installation of solar projects in New York State. The loan announced today will pay for the cost of purchasing materials and installing the solar projects. Sunrun designs, installs, finances, insures, monitors and maintains homeowners’ solar panel installations, so families can have more predictable electricity bills for 20 years or more without a high upfront cost.

“This transaction will allow for construction of a significantly larger number of residential solar systems, which drives down system costs and creates jobs for contractors and installers,” said Alfred Griffin, President of NY Green Bank. “It will also encourage other capital providers to more actively participate in the clean energy marketplace, as it drives standardization of residential solar construction financing products.”

RELATED: New York utilities, SolarCity propose landmark partnership 

NY Green Bank’s participation as part of two consortia of capital providers in these two financings with Sunrun will broaden the availability of solar financing for homeowners statewide, in support of Governor Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) strategy to build a clean, affordable and resilient energy system for all New Yorkers. Under REV, New York State is implementing the Clean Energy Standard, which requires that 50 percent of energy used in the State come from renewable resources by 2030.

By providing financial products for solar and other clean energy projects that are not readily available from private lenders, NY Green Bank helps project developers keep up with growing demand, standardizes financing documentation, and overcomes financing barriers that can hamper the growth of clean energy projects.

NY Green Bank is a division of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and a key component of New York’s 10-year, $5.3 million Clean Energy Fund (CEF) to accelerate the use of clean energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy efficiency, and spur economic development in New York State.

John Rhodes, President and CEO, NYSERDA, said, “Many solar developers face the challenge of securing sufficient financing to meet customer demand, which hampers their ability to grow and drive a larger number of projects to completion. This transaction demonstrates the state’s investment in advancing Governor Cuomo’s clean energy goals.”

The nine NY Green Bank transactions closed to date total $121 million stimulating $518.3 million in clean energy projects in New York State. These projects are expected to reduce lifetime greenhouse gas emissions in New York State by more than 2.9 million metric tons, which is equivalent to taking more than 37,000 cars off the road for 17 years.

— Solar Builder magazine