New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the approval of a Shared Renewables program (also referred to as community distributed generation), allowing residents and businesses to join together to share in the benefits of local solar, wind and other renewable energy projects. Each member’s production would appear as a credit on their monthly utility bill. The first phase of Shared Renewables will focus on promoting low-income customer participation and installations in areas of the power grid that can benefit most from local power production.
Richard Kauffman, chairman of energy and finance for New York, said the initiative was akin to “democratizing the production of power.”
During the first phase of Shared Renewables from October 19, 2015, through April 30, 2016, projects will be limited to those that advance one of two specific Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) goals: siting distributed generation in areas where it can provide the greatest locational benefits to the larger power grid; or supporting economically distressed communities by ensuring at least 20 percent of the participants are low- and moderate-income customers.
Beginning May 1, 2016, a second phase will make Shared Renewables projects available throughout entire utility service territories.
In addition, other REV principles can be applied, such as aligning utility incentives to fully support Shared Renewables projects by allowing shared savings or revenues from new business models that facilitate projects at lower costs.
Customers interested in the Shared Renewables initiative can participate in a number of ways. For instance, the residents of a condominium may want to join together for a shared solar project. They would need to find a sponsor who will be responsible for organizing the project on behalf of the residents. A sponsor could be a developer or even the residents of the building banding together to form a legal entity such as a limited liability corporation.
Energy Manager Today published an article describing the community solar movement – a form of shared renewables – in the US.