New York State celebrates 2 GW of solar at this community solar ribbon cutting

Forefront power project

The New York Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) announced that two gigawatts of solar capacity has been installed across the state, underscoring New York’s position as one of the fastest growing distributed solar markets in the nation with a nearly 1,800 percent growth, leveraging $4 billion in private investment, fueling nearly 12,000 jobs since 2011 and decreasing the cost of solar by nearly 60 percent. This represents one-third of the solar capacity needed to achieve the statewide target to install 6 GW of solar by 2025 and supports Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Green New Deal, which calls for 70 percent of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030.

The announcement was made by NYSERDA President and Chief Executive Officer Alicia Barton in Saratoga County at a festive ribbon-cutting ceremony for one of the largest completed community solar projects in upstate New York.

Project details

Located on Pruyn Hill Road in Mechanicville, the 6.12-megawatt community solar project developed by ForeFront Power, LLC is fully subscribed and will provide clean electricity to more than 1,000 customers. The project known as ForeFront Power’s Mechanicville Community Solar Project will produce more than seven million kilowatt-hours of solar energy annually, the equivalent of taking more than 800 cars off the road. The project received $2.3 million from NYSERDA through NY-Sun.

By enabling consumers to subscribe to the local community solar project, this project will increase access to solar for homeowners and renters who may not have ideal conditions to directly install solar panels onsite. Through the community solar arrangements, energy is still delivered by a customer’s regular electric provider, and the power produced from the community solar array is fed directly back to the electric grid. As the grid is supplied with clean, renewable energy, subscribers receive credit on their electric bills for their portion of the community solar system. Currently, New York’s community solar market is serving nearly 14,000 subscribers across the state.

The Mechanicville Community Solar Project contributes to the over 300 megawatts of community solar or distributed generation projects that have been supported by NY Green Bank with over $100 million in capital commitments since 2017. NY Green Bank, a State-sponsored finance entity is a division of NYSERDA, and has played a market-leading role in financing distributed solar in New York State.

Since 2011, the NY-Sun initiative has achieved the following

  • Enabled the installation of solar on the rooftop or property of 123,000 homes in every county in New York;
  • Provided over $741 million in incentives, leveraging $4 billion in private investment;
  • Supported the completion of over 89,000 solar projects;
  • Delivered enough clean, renewable energy to power over 244,000 New York homes;
  • Helped to drive down the average cost of solar from $6.35 in 2011 to $2.56 per watt in 2019, representing a nearly 60 percent cost decline in less than 10 years; and
  • 2019 is NY-Sun’s most productive year ever for solar installations with additional projects expected to be completed and operational before 2020.

In addition to the two gigawatts of solar installed across the state, there is another 1,262 megawatts of solar projects currently under development, including 351 community solar projects that will expand access to more New Yorkers including low-to-moderate-income households. When built, these projects would produce enough energy to power an additional 220,000 average New York homes.

— Solar Builder magazine


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