As part of Governor Cuomo’s NY-Sun Competitive PV Program, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) awarded $46 million for 76 large-scale solar projects totaling 52 MW of new capacity.
Awards have been made to 28 recipients to finance the 76 projects in 33 counties across the state. Installations will be located at businesses, factories, municipal buildings and other larger commercial and industrial companies, and are expected to be on line by the end of this year. The projects are meant to produce power for on-site use, not for direct sale to utilities. Under certain circumstances, however, unused power can be added to the grid in exchange for future utility credit.
The NY-Sun Competitive PV Program is part of the state’s larger NY-Sun Initiative. The Competitive PV program is focused on delivering affordable solar power to larger energy consumers, including businesses, public buildings and factories. The $46 million from NYSERDA will leverage $100 million in private investment, resulting in $146 million in infrastructure projects. It is the first of three Competitive PV Program award rounds planned this year.
NYSERDA has been administering solar incentives for a number of years, but the Competitive PV Program is designed to drive a more aggressive level of deployment for commercial energy customers in the state, said a spokeswoman for the Vote Solar Initiative.
In this year’s State of the State address, Gov. Cuomo committed to extending the NY-Sun Initiative through 2023.
The announcement from the governor’s office also notes that a steady decline in the cost to build solar PV projects since the Competitive PV Program’s launch has enabled significant reductions to the incentives that are awarded. In 2011, the portfolio-weighted average incentive awarded was $1.30 per watt, while in 2012 it had dropped to $0.93 per watt. Today’s awards represent a further decline to $0.88 per watt, or about 30 percent of the cost to build these projects.
New York State ranked 10th in the nation for new solar capacity installed in 2012, according to the latest US Solar Market Insight report from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). There are approximately 3,300 solar professionals working at 338 companies in New York.