NYS Solar: NYSolar Smart
solar in america
The solar industry in the U.S. grew by 76% last year, continuing to create local jobs in addition to generating clean, renewable energy. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) SunShot Initiative is a national collaborative effort to make solar energy cost-competitive with other forms of electricity by the end of the decade. The DOE has funded multiple programs under SunShot, including the Rooftop Solar Challenge, with a focus on the ‘balance of systems’ costs that add up to 40% of the costs of installing solar.
Solar in NY
In 2012, New York installed nearly 60 MW of solar electric capacity, ranking 10th nationally, and 10th in cumulative installed capacity. Through Governor Cuomo’s NY-Sun Initiative, New York State has committed $1.5 billion over the next 10 years to quadrupling the amount of new solar installed over 2011 levels, in part by reducing the costs of installing solar for residents. It is projected that in 2013 New York State will rate 5th in residential solar installations across the country. Collaborative efforts are essential to ensure that the NYS market will be ready to accommodate this growth and poise New York to continue to attract the many industries that support solar.
The NYSolar Smart plan is a strategic effort led by the City University of New York (CUNY) that supports both Federal and the State solar initiatives and works in partnership with: the New York Power Authority (NYPA); New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA); municipalities around the state; and more than 30 organizations representing utility companies, installers, government agencies and industry leaders. Since 2006 CUNY has led the implementation of multiple state and federal solar grants and was recently awarded funding through DOE’s SunShot Initiative Rooftop Solar Challenge II to implement solutions to lower the soft costs of installing solar across New York State.
New York State Unified Solar Permit
CUNY, in a collaborative effort, conducted a state-wide survey addressing planning and zoning, financing options, and interconnection and net metering, in addition to permitting processes related to solar. Working with NYSERDA, NYPA and municipalities across the state, CUNY developed a streamlined solar permit form for small-scale photovoltaic (PV) systems. NYS Unified Solar Permit <pdf>. Municipalities that adopt the unified permit and procedures are eligible for between $2,500 and $5,000, depending on population, through the New York State Cleaner, Greener Communities program to implement the new procedures. Webinar Presentation. <pdf> Additional information can be found on NY-Sun Initiative Community Tools.
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.
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 and is now expanding it's efforts across the State. 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. Smart Distributed Generation Hub- Emergency Power
For more information please contact the NYS Solar Ombudsmen.