Yesterday (Sept. 19) the New York State Public Service Commission introduced the state’s new Value of Distributed Energy Resources (VDER) plan, which will replace net-metering for rooftop solar in the state. However, the new scheme was soundly criticized by industry advocates and the environmental community.
“New York’s quest to expand access to clean energy has taken a worrying turn. In issuing an order setting forth its plan to implement its new solar policy…the New York Public Service Commission unfortunately approved flawed utility proposals that undercount the value of solar resources and that will make it impossible for many solar projects to predict part of their revenues from the policy and obtain financing on that basis,” contended Natural Resources Defense Council Clean Energy Attorney Miles Farmer.
“Expanding access to cost-effective, clean energy is a primary goal of New York’s Clean Energy Standard, which will create enough renewable energy to meet half of the state’s electricity needs by 2030,” said commission Chair John Rhodes. “The new compensation mechanism will spur the development of solar power, energy storage and other localized forms of electric generation.”
The commission argued that the new system will better compensate project developers and encourage more community solar in the state. It claimed the VDER mechanism will be more accurate in assessing the value that distributed energy resources that these systems “bring to the grid and society, including, for the first time, locational and environmental benefits.”
“Although the industry supports the commission’s goal to properly quantify the full value of clean energy, the recently approved utility implementation plans use incomplete and inadequately refined methodologies that fail to accurately calculate the economic and environmental benefits of solar,” the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the New York Solar Energy Industries Association (NYSEIA) and the Coalition for Community Solar Access (CCSA) responded in a joint statement. “New York has ambitious goals for deployment of clean, distributed energy, and those goals cannot be met without a stable regulatory environment. We are concerned about the signal this sends to clean energy businesses evaluating investment decisions throughout the region, and the impact on the nascent community solar industry.”
The state will transition to the new system over the next few years. Under the transition plan, net-metered systems installed before March 9, 2017 will remain on their original net-metering contract, selling excess power produced back to the grid and being credited for it. Rooftop and small commercial solar and energy systems installed after that and before Jan. 1, 2020, will be net-metered for 20 years. The commission also stated: “All other systems installed after March 9th will be placed onto the new VDER compensation system after the utilities file final calculations and tariffs, which will take effect November 1st.”Tweet