New York proposes 4GW extension to NY-Sun programme

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New York is aiming to reach a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040. Image: Con Edison.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul has unveiled a framework for the US state to finish the decade with at least 10GW of distributed solar, spurring billions of dollars in investment and creating thousands of jobs.

Late last week Hochul published a roadmap for distributed solar that had been submitted by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the New York State Department of Public Service. The roadmap, submitted for public comment and approval, proposes a considerable expansion of New York’s NY-Sun initiative which would, if delivered, turn it into one of the country’s largest and most inclusive solar programmes, a filing with the New York Department of Public Service reads.

The roadmap intends chiefly to increase the level of access to solar for those in the state with the aim of using 40% of investments made under the initiative to support disadvantaged communities and low- to moderate-income households in the state.

It’s hoped that around US$4.4 billion of private investment into solar installations will be triggered under the programme, helping create 6,000 additional solar jobs throughout New York.

Under the expanded NY-Sun initiative, at least 1.6GW of distributed solar would be installed to benefit disadvantaged and low- and moderate-income communities, while a further 450MW would be installed within the Con Edison electric service area, taking installed solar capacity within the area to in excess of 1GW.

A further 560MW would be installed through the Long Island Power Authority.

In addition, a new requirement would be added to the NY-Sun programme stipulating that for projects greater than 1MW in size, workers associated with the project’s construction must be paid the applicable prevailing wage – similar requirements that the Biden administration has sought to add to any prospective extension of investment tax credits included within the Build Back Better legislative agenda.

The roadmap, which can be read in full here, states that the expansion has been drawn up with NY-Sun’s existing target of 6GW by 2025 nearly achieved.

It argues that administratively-set incentives for distributed solar were preferable to auction-based procurement mechanisms given impacts on traditional distributed PV procurement timelines. Further analysis also concluded that index-based pricing may be “challenging” for distributed solar projects due to a lack of familiarity with the process by developers.

Furthermore, the roadmap cites analysis that determined extending the NY-Sun Megawatt Block incentive, which provides up-front incentive payments, is preferable to achieving the extended target given its proven track record for transparency and flexibility.  

NYSERDA said it was expected that the expansion of NY-Sun would cost billpayers in the state around US$0.71c per month.

Senator Kevin Parker, who chairs New York’s Energy and Telecommunications Committee, said the state must prepare for the “next steps” to help surpass existing targets and create jobs in the clean energy industry.

“The roadmap released today shows how we can meet ambitious goals with clean solar energy, encourage billions in private investment, and ensure disadvantaged communities benefit from this growth,” Senator Todd Kaminsky added.

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