New York is moving toward a long-term extension and expansion of its existing solar policy. The State Senate unanimously passed New York Solar Bill (A.5060/S.2522) on Earth Day, April 23, 2013 (the “NY Solar Bill”). The NY Solar Bill would extend the NY-Sun Initiative (NYSI) which currently runs into 2015, through 2023.
The legislation now moves to the State Assembly for consideration. If the Assembly approves the legislation, there is a good chance that Governor Andrew Cuomo, who advocated a ten-year, $1.5 billion commitment to solar and creation of a $1 billion “New York Greenbank” in his January State of the State address, will sign the bill.
Originally allocated $800 million through 2015, the NYSI supports solar through “Deployment” and “Balance of System” incentives that are administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), New York Power Authority (NYPA) and Long Island Power Authority (LIPA).
Current NYSI Deployment incentives, which are supported by $750 million of funding, include the following programs:
- NYSERDA: Solar PV Program Financial Incentives - Cash incentives for solar installations sized under 7 kW for residential projects and under 50kW for commercial projects
- NYSERDA: New York Sun Competitive Photovoltaic Program - Awards up to $3 million per project and $6 million per applicant to PV and renewable biogas projects in excess of 50 kW
- LIPA: Solar Pioneer Program for Homeowners – Pays rebate of up to the lesser of $18,600 or 50% of installed system cost to homeowners that install residential solar systems
- LIPA: Feed-in-Tariff Program – 20-year PPA is awarded to up to 50 MW of projects each having a capacity of over 50 kW (current rate of $.22/kWh)
- Current NYSI Balance of System programs, which are supported by $50 million of funding, include the following:
- NYSERDA: Photovoltaic Balance-of-System Cost Reduction – Cash awards of up to an aggregate of $10 million for projects focused on reducing balance of plant costs associated with purchasing, installing, owning and operating PV plants
- NYSERDA: Photovoltaic Balance-of-System Training & Education Program – Cash awards of up to an aggregate of $3.5 million for programs focused on training and education associated with PV technology deployment
- NYSERDA: Advanced Clean Power Technologies – Cash awards of up to an aggregate of $10.5 million for development of new or underutilized energy technologies
- NYPA: Solar Market Acceleration Program – Up to $30 million of funding to support research for innovative solar technology, demonstration projects and soft cost reduction strategies
- LIPA: Long Island Unified Solar Permitting Initiative – Program for coordinating and streamlining permitting of solar energy projects on Long Island.
- The NY Solar Bill proposes to modify and extend the NYSU beyond 2015, specifically mandating:
- $108 million of annual funding through 2023 for NYSERDA to encourage development of solar PV generating systems
- $38 million of annual funding for solar incentive programs in the LIPA service territory through 2023
- state tax credits equal to 20% of the cost eligible research and development or manufacturing facilities and 10% of qualified research and manufacturing expenses (up to an annual total credit of $25 million) for taxpayers that own solar or energy storage development and manufacturing facilities.
The implementation of the legislative directives in the NY Solar Bill will be left to administrative rulemaking by NYSERDA, LIPA and the New York State Tax Commissioner. The progress of the NY Solar Bill bears watching over the summer.