With his NY-Sun Initiative, Governor Cuomo is aiming to quadruple the amount of solar installed in the state between 2011 and 2013.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s (NYSERDA) Competitive PV Program is one way that New York’s energy customers and solar developers will meet those goals. 

Today, Governor Cuomo announced the award of $46 million for 76 large-scale solar projects across the state, totaling 52 megawatts of new solar capacity. That will leverage an additional $100 million of private investment in solar infrastructure.

NYSERDA will offer two additional rounds this year to keep adding new megawatts of customer-sited solar up and down the state. As is evident in its name, the Competitive PV Program was designed to harness competition and private investment and drive down the cost of solar. In this successful first round of the Competitive PV Program, NYSERDA awarded $46 million, which successfully leveraged $100 million in private investment.

The average weighted incentive of the awards was $0.88 per watt, a reduction from $1.30 per watt in 2011. 

The program also has a smart design feature that aims to deploy solar energy where it is needed most on New York’s grid. New York’s utilities have identified regions within their service territories where the installation of new customer-sited solar generation will provide tangible benefits to the electric distribution system. Projects located in these regions receive an added bonus on top of their incentive bid. In other words, deliver greater benefits -- receive more money.

In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, the need for New York to combat climate change and build a more resilient power grid became more apparent than ever. There is real opportunity for rooftop solar to help tackle these challenges head on. And Governor Cuomo has made it clear that solar is part of his vision for a stronger, safer New York. The NY-Sun Initiative was conceived of as a shorter-term program to boost solar power today, but -- now the Governor is aiming for more. In his State of the State address this year, Cuomo announced his intention to extend the NY-Sun program an additional ten years to the tune of $150 million per year through 2023, saying, “The extended solar jobs program will provide longer program certainty...and is expected to attract significant private investment in solar photovoltaic systems, enable the sustainable development of a robust solar power industry in New York, create well-paying skilled jobs, improve the reliability of the electric grid, and reduce air pollution.” 

Ten more years of committed solar development will unleash the many economic, environmental and grid benefits of a solar-powered New York.


Peter Olmsted is Vote Solar's East Coast Policy Advocate.