New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced this week that the state will support the deployment of 64 megawatts (MWs) of solar under the NY-Sun Initiative’s NY-Sun Competitive PV Program, which supports systems larger than 50 kilowatts. The state will support the 79 projects with $54 million.
The announcement is the latest part of Gov. Cuomo’s efforts to significantly step up the amount of solar in the Empire State, which he launched in 2012 during his state of the state speech. At that point he said, “In its first year, the NY-Sun Initiative will be capable of doubling the customer-sited photovoltaic capacity that was installed in 2011. By 2013, we estimate that NY-Sun will quadruple the 2011 capacity.”
The project has been pretty successful so far. Last year the state installed more than 58 megawatts of photovoltaics (PV), nearly doubling the amount of customer-sited PV installed in 2011. “Including today’s awards, a total of 299 MW of PV has been installed or is under development as part of NY-Sun,” the Governor’s office said.
“Governor Cuomo's NY-Sun initiative has led to unprecedented demand for solar power among large electric consumers. Less than two years old, this is a great success story for New York," said Francis Murray CEO of New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). "The investments we are making in solar power will help businesses around the state control and reduce their utility expenses, while increasing the amount of electricity the state gets from renewable energy and reducing demand on the electric grid.”
Still the state is far behind its neighbor, New Jersey, as well as California—both of which have installed more than 1 gigawatt of solar. In fact, this summer utility-scale solar installations in California are already producing more than 2 gigawatts of energy on a near-daily basis. That’s in addition to the 1.6 gigawatts of distributed solar throughout California, according to the latest figures from the California Solar Initiative.
The growth of solar in New York is good and may elevate it into the upper echelons of solar states in the U.S., particularly if Cuomo, who sees the practicality of solar, and the state continue to support solar. “Not only will these projects benefit our environment by reducing dependence on fossil fuels and using renewable energy, but they are also creating well-paying jobs for New Yorkers. These are necessary investments for a bright future in our state,” Cuomo said of the recent announcement.
The most recent award in New York was made to 20 recipients who are installing solar at businesses, factories, municipal buildings, colleges and other larger commercial and industrial companies and institutions, Cuomo’s office said. “The $54 million from the State, awarded through a competitive program, leverages $120 million in private investment, resulting in roughly $174 million in infrastructure projects,” it explained.
The recently announced projects are the second of three rounds projects that are being supported through the competitive PV program. Proposals for the next round of funding are due August 29.
While the program, which also includes residential and small commercial incentives, is currently funded through 2015, Cuomo wants to extend it through 2023 and has proposed such legislation. However, the state legislature has not yet approved the legislation.