New York's Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved a new state-wide incentive plan for increased deployment of solar power.
The incentive is one of a number of measures aimed at reforming and modernising the state's energy sector.
The state has also approved the introduction of measures aimed at monitoring and regulating energy use. Additionally, New York governor Andrew Cuomo confirmed an expected commitment to the NY-Sun Initiative programme worth around US$1 billion, which is expected to take the programme through to 2023.
The NY Sun Initiative is aimed at attracting businesses from around the world to invest in solar in New York, as well as boosting existing businesses in the region, by providing long term funding certainty to projects.
A long-term roadmap for increased deployment of solar will be created after it was approved by the PSC, designed to wean the solar industry in New York off dependence on government support programmes and onto a more market-based approach.
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) submitted a request to the PSC in January that NYSERDA incentive-based programmes currently in place to promote solar be replaced with a new, “Megawatt (MW) Block incentive structure.”
The structure will see the state divided by region into ‘megawatt (MW) blocks’, with funding apportioned accordingly. Targets in megawatts of PV generation capacity will be allocated to the various regions of New York State. The MW Block programme would eventually subsume the current solar incentives of the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), the Customer-Sited Tier (CST), and the Standard Offer and Competitive PV Programs. The NY Sun Initiative will remain in place, supporting and supported by the MW Block plan.
The idea behind the programme is that as the MW Block quotas are filled, government incentives will decline commensurately.
NYSERDA also announced yesterday that the state will adopt Reforming Energy Vision (REV), another energy sector modernisation initiative. According to NYSERDA, under REV, “utilities will actively manage and coordinate a wide range of distributed resources, or generate electricity from many small energy sources and link them together.”
Governor Cuomo’s confirmation of the US$1 billion of funding for NY-Sun follows an announcement made in January 2013 that US$1.5 billion would be spent on it over 10 years.