Governor of New York consolidates solar incentives under NY-Sun banner

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The governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, has launched the NY-Sun Initiative, a plan to consolidate the state’s existing solar incentive programmes into a single support scheme, aimed at adding 3GW of solar generation capacity by 2023.

Cuomo announced last week that current multiple incentive schemes will be incorporated into the US$1 billion NY-Sun Initiative programme. Cuomo claims that NY-Sun Initiative “will stimulate development of solar projects across this state, and sends a clear message that New York is a leader in solar energy innovation”.

Cuomo said the plan was intended to foster a self-sustaining solar industry for New York. Financial support will be provided for projects by public funds and is intended to “drive the industry to scale and reduce burdens on ratepayers”. Support paid out will vary depending on market conditions in each given region of New York, with incentives eliminated faster in areas where market conditions can support increased deployment.  

A key part of the new scheme includes the approval of a “megawatt-block” (MW block) incentive quota, as reported by PV Tech in April, when Cuomo announced the US$1 billion in funding allocated to solar support schemes would be extended to 2023. The quota would see the state of New York divided up into three regions, each with a targeted solar generation capacity to aim to install for residential PV systems of up to 25kW and small non-residential systems of up to 200kW. The MW block scheme is expected to be in place by next year.

Each of those regions, divided up into sectors and blocks, would have a set incentive level for PV systems – when that targeted quota is reached, the block would be closed off for new projects and a new block in the sector would start being filled, at a lower incentive rate than the previous one.

In addition to the MW block scheme, NY-Sun Initiative will also include other strands such as streamlining of permitting and other soft costs, which in many parts of the US is considered one of the biggest obstacles to lowering the cost of installing solar. The scheme will also include education on the benefits of solar for consumers and schools, as well as investigating how lower income New York residents can also benefit from solar.

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) will also, with the New York Power Authority, conduct research and development into how to lower costs of solar systems components – although not solar modules.

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