New York just made it easier for prepared community solar projects to get online. The New York Public Service Commission (PSC) announced that it has instituted changes to the state’s Standardized Interconnection Requirements (SIR) for solar projects up to 5 megawatts, a size range that includes community solar projects. The changes expedite the application process and help decrease the costs by making infrastructure changes uniformly.
“Community solar represents an enormous opportunity to open up solar savings to New York residents. We are pleased to see the progress made by the NY PSC today,” said Tom Matzzie, Founder and CEO of CleanChoice Energy.
Under former PSC requirements, solar developers submitting applications to connect large-commercial-sized projects to the grid were placed in a queue while utilities determined the scope of upgrades to the grid and associated costs. Often, projects that were shovel-ready had to wait behind proposals that weren’t while the utilities made determinations whether or not the proposed projects were ever built. As a result, project proposals slowed the application process considerably and cost utilities and developers substantial amounts of money and lost time waiting for approval.
The SIR improves the application process by ensuring more prepared solar projects do not get stuck behind non-viable project proposals in utilities’ approval queue. In order to improve efficiency, developers are now required to follow binding proposal guidelines, adhere to payment timelines and provide proof of landowner consent for each project within 30 days.
"Putting queue management and limited cost sharing into action, as outlined by the Interconnection Policy Working Group (IPWG), is a significant step to improve the efficiency and efficacy of the interconnection process in New York,” said Valessa Souter-Kline, Policy Coordinator for the New York Solar Energy Industries Association (NYSEIA). “The new process reflects the commitment of both the development community and the utilities to ensure that project applications move forward fairly and efficiently, resulting in more clean solar energy generation in the ground.”
Community solar projects are fairly new to New York. In fact, the state dedicated its first community solar farm in Trumansburg in 2016. However, under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s NY-Sun Initiative, the state continues to establish sound renewable energy policy that is making solar and other renewables accessible and cost effective to residential customers of all income levels.Tweet