New York Assembly Passes Bill To Establish New Value For Solar Energy

New York Assembly
(Photo Credit: Brookhaven National Laboratory, Flickr Creative Commons)

The New York Assembly has passed A.10474, a bill supported by the solar industry that keeps net metering for customers subscribing to community solar installations through December 31, 2021, PV Magazine reported.

Introduced by Assemblymember Steve Englebright (D-Setauket), the bill aims to help make solar power more accessible to New Yorkers by extending net metering and directing the state’s Public Service Commission to create a new Value of Distributed Energy Resources (VDER).

The current VDER has been widely criticized for hindering solar development in the state by being complex and putting a low value on solar power.

“VDER has had a devastating effect on solar development, with investment down 73% in the first quarter of 2018 versus 2017 based on total project costs of solar electric programs reported by NYSERDA,” said Chris Neidl, director of business development for Brooklyn SolarWorks.

New York’s Public Service Commission has until June 30, 2021 to adopt a methodology for establishing a new VDER crediting mechanism for customer-generators. This one must “fully and accurately account for the energy and capacity value of the electricity generated,” the bill says.

It must also account for the long-term value of public benefits like grid security and resilience, climate security, reduced GHG emissions, reduced pollutants, reduced exposure to fuel price volatility, environmental justice attributes, and avoided societal and ratepayer costs from the reduction of energy bills for low-income customers.

A companion bill relating to net energy metering, S.8273, is now with the Senate Rules Committee and if the bill were to pass the Senate, it would head to the governor, PV Magazine’s John Weaver reported.

Chris Carrick, energy program manager at the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board, praised the New York Assembly for passing A.10474.

“This legislation will provide immediate relief for municipalities and other large energy users that cannot participate in the state’s solar market under the current VDER policy,” he said. “By directing the Public Service Commission to develop a fairer and better way of valuing solar energy, the Assembly has taken an important step towards making solar available to all New Yorkers regardless of income or zip code.”

Adam Flint, director of clean energy programs for the Binghamton Regional Sustainability Center, also applauded the vote. “We now call on the Senate to do the same to get this bill on the governor’s desk before the end of session,” he said. “Thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in investment depend on it.”

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