NYS Solar- NYSolar Smart
The City University of New York (CUNY) has launched the NYSolar Smart program as part of New York’s effort to drive growth in the solar industry and make solar technology more affordable for all New Yorkers.
Background- nEW yORK CITY
Since 2007 Sustainable CUNY has led, on behalf of NYC, comprehensive federal solar initiatives designed to support large scale solar energy market growth in NYC. Sustainable CUNY works in collaboration with the Mayor’s Office, NYC Economic Development Corporation, Con Edison, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the New York Power Authority (NYPA) and over 30 partners to strategically remove barriers to large scale solar deployment. The result to-date in NYC is a tenfold increase in solar production, a quadrupling of solar installation companies, and the innovative use of technologies such as GIS and LiDAR to create the world’s largest interactive solar map for NYC’s one million rooftops. Further, as climate change continues to dramatically impact New York, Sustainable CUNY is working with its partners to incorporate solar power into emergency and resiliency planning.
NYSolar Smart builds on CUNY’s experiences and success in New York City, expanding efforts across the state with support in part from NYSERDA and NYPA under the NY-Sun Initiative. NYSolar Smart will make available to interested NYS jurisdictions the tools and support to reduce administrative costs associated with solar, which can increase the expense of a PV system by up to 40%. By addressing these barriers, the NYSolar Smart program can help strengthen local solar markets and bring solar installations and jobs to cities, towns and villages across New York. NYSolar Smart aims to lower the cost of solar by creating clear and transparent permitting and interconnection processes, incorporating solar-friendly policies into planning and zoning, exploring financing options, offering IT tools such as the Solar Map, and outreach activities. One of the initial tasks that serves as a foundation for the program is conducting a NYS Solar Survey.
Survey, Benchmark and Analyze
With more than 18,000 jurisdictions in the U.S. and little or no standardized national or state solar permitting processes, a wide variety of procedures exists. New York is no exception. Many installation companies face frustration with the lack of uniformity, layers of paperwork and different permitting processes across the many jurisdictions in which they do business, which contributes to higher costs. In turn, local agencies and utilities struggle to accommodate a growing industry while dealing with a lack of staff and often limited coordination between agencies and utilities. CUNY, in collaboration with NYSERDA, is conducting a state-wide survey addressing planning and zoning, financing options, and interconnection and net metering, in addition to permitting processes related to solar. Municipalities with active solar markets will be asked to participate or can request to be included. Sustainable CUNY will analyze the results of the NYS survey and will establish a benchmark for each local government and the state based on responses. This benchmark will help lay out a roadmap for policy improvements in the near- and long-term.
What your city or jurisdiction can do
Complete the NYS online survey of existing policies and processes involved in installing solar locally. This survey will be distributed via email to the appropriate staff within your municipality. If you have any questions please contact the NYS Solar Ombudsman.